Virtual Reality Treadmill Rehabilitates Neurological Patients

Michigan Personal Injury Law Firm

A new treadmill developed by Motek Medical uses virtual reality (VR) to safely challenge patients with neurological impairments. Called CAREN (Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment), the platform has been tested by the Cleveland Clinic to help evaluate and train individuals with Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological conditions. The Cleveland Clinic is the first nonmilitary site in North and South America to install the interactive virtual reality treadmill. 

Specifically, CAREN analyzes balance, locomotion, and coordination in affected patients by placing them in an immersive and interactive environment. While a patient walks on the treadmill, surrounding visual projection, the floor, and the sound system react to the patient's behavior in response to real-time motion-capture capabilities. 

Another characteristic of CAREN is labeled '6-Degrees-of-Freedom,' and refers to the treadmill's ability to move up, down, left, and right and gives the platform simulator-like qualities. Real-time feedback merges data from CAREN's hardware to constantly perform quantifiable evaluation.

Physical Applications Of Virtual Reality Rehabilitation  

  • Identifying balance compensation anomalies.
  • Measuring and correcting gait problems from inefficient muscle use.
  • Identifying neural substrates of task difficulty and cognitive effort.

In less scientific terms, this means that the virtual reality treadmill has the capability to help zero in on physical and mental effects of neourological diseases, which will hopefully lead to improvements for people with brain conditions. By catering to a patient's customized needs and preferences, CAREN offers researchers future opportunities to make medical advancements for people suffering from degenerative brain diseases or traumatic brain injuries. 

Traumatic Brain Injury Car Accident Lawyer

Since brain injuries may occur anytime and anyplace, from playing professional football, getting into a car crash or motorcycle collision, or even due to the circumstances of being homeless, technological developments are all the more necessary to help improve the lives of people suffering from neurological impairments. A virtual reality treadmill is just the latest in modern advancements for the brain, and hopefully there are many more creative treatments to come.

CAREN could be the future for people suffering from neurological conditions or traumatic brain injuries. If you or someone you know has experienced a brain injury from a motor vehicle accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Virtual Reality Tools Could Help Design Future Cars

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CNN has just brought to light an important tool in developing future automobiles and making them safer on the roadways. The article makes mention of a London-based design firm, Seymourpowell, which is working with cutting edge technology to design and edit car plans in virtual reality, wearing VR headsets and working with a new 3D sketching program. It has been reported that the new VR software speeds up the process of designing vehicles, as opposed to traditional programs like Photoshop.

Here's where the new software steps in. Put on the VR headset and you are transported to a 3D workspace where the view adjusts to your head movements. The left control stick lets you sketch lines, which can be twisted, moved and manipulated with the right one. Then, you can then jump around your digital surroundings with the press of a button.

With so few functions to worry about -- and because you can see the two controllers as if they were your own virtual hands -- the process is surprisingly intuitive.

Automakers are working with this new software too. CNN reports that Ford and Jaguar Land Rover are already using similar VR software for vehicle design and that more car manufacturers are interested in working with this technology as well.

As car manufacturers begin to streamline their design and development processes by taking advantage of emerging virtual reality technologies, it's conceivable that more attention could be provided to auto safety and ensuring that the risk of drivers and occupants sustaining serious injury in auto accidents is further minimized.  

The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC is a civil litigation firm in Birmingham, Michigan, handling cases throughout Michigan. Our law office regularly files car accident lawsuits and seeks compensation for victims who were injured in auto accidents. Contact us for a free legal consultation at 844.464.3476. Speak to an experienced injury lawyer today.

Virtual Reality: Coming to a Courtroom Near You!

Virtual reality is becoming more prevalent when it comes to playing video games or watching a movie at home, but it could also start playing a role in the courtroom in the not-so-distant future. Recently, researchers from Staffordshire University in England were announced as the recipients of a $200,000 European Commission grant to create ways of presenting crime-scene evidence to jurors and lawyers through virtual reality. 

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“A number of novel, digital non-invasive methods, have the potential to...permit access to difficult and/or dangerous environments, create a more accurate record of buried or concealed evidence and provide more effective means of presenting evidence in court,” Caroline Sturdy Colls, the leader of the project, said in a statement. 

Staffordshire University told The Wall Street Journal that one technique being coordinated and tested with the Staffordshire police department, uses virtual reality motion-capture headsets, which have become popular in the video gaming world. The Head of Justice services for Staffordshire Police told the BBC that these new developments could “bring to life” complicated crime scenes. 

Not everyone is thrilled about the idea of bringing virtual reality into the legal world however. Jason Holt, a barrister at Steven Solicitors told the BBC that “we don’t have a very good track record with bringing technology into courtrooms." The debate on the merits of reenacting crime scenes has been played out before. In 2001, the National Institute for Trial Advocacy released the Federal Judicial Center-funded guidebook that outlined the potential advantages and drawbacks of transporting jurors to “virtual environments”: 

“This kind of equipment is used for recreating scenes where it is important for the viewer to feel a part of the action. If compensation for fear, anxiety, peril, or the like are at issue, lawyers may want the jury to feel what the plaintiff or defendant felt. Virtual reality equipment comes the closest to that goal.  Because a full recreation of the relevant scene (from the point of view of the people involved) is usually impossible there remains a good deal of possibility for unfair prejudice.” 
Virtual Reality Court Room Lawyer

A decade ago, William & Mary Law School’s Center for Legal and Court Technology researched ways to integrate virtual reality into law practices, according to Law Professor Fredric I. Lederer. The project involved a mock trial where expert witnesses in a medical negligence case used virtual reality to visualize the scene in the operating room. “It left us with the certainty that you could do it," Lederer said. Although the door was left open for future use, there were some lingering concerns including the accurate recreation of crime scenes and making sure jurors, lawyers, and judges were all viewing the same thing. Oddly enough, nausea was also a noted concern. “I wouldn’t want to lose a quarter of my jury because they’re trying not to throw up,” Lederer added. 

While virtual reality hasn't reached the courtroom quite yet, other industries are putting it to full use. Last summer, the University of Michigan's Athletic Department became the first collegiate athletic department to utilize virtual reality for recruiting and fan engagement. Players and fans will be able to wear HeadcaseVR's as glasses and see first hand what it's like to practice during the week, get ready in the locker room, and run out of the tunnel in front of the largest crowd in the United States.

While virtual reality has yet to play a role in the courtroom, the attorneys at The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC will work with you to create an accurate description of what took place in your case. Our attorneys are committed to doing thorough research and investigation in order to get you the help you need. If you or somebody you know has been in an accident, call us today at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation.