Assisting spinal patients with their rehabilitation is not something we do every day – so we were very intrigued by the project with Burwood Hospital in Christchurch. The Spinal rehabilitation unit saw an opportunity to help people with spinal injuries master their wheelchairs with a “Virtual Reality Wheelchair Trainer”. Designed by Christchurch Company MTech Games, the simulator enables patients to learn how to control a wheelchair in virtual reality – before even leaving the hospital.
Envivo contributed to this project by providing 3D Laser scanning and point clouds to enable the virtual reality worlds to be built.
A full virtual reality headset has been developed which exactly mimics the environment the patient is in – the rooms, furniture and doors can be recreated identically to reality. This gives patients the ability to practise manoeuvring themselves and their wheelchairs, to become familiar with the new movements – and ultimately helps alleviate anxiety and to transition to a more independent lifestyle far quicker.
The first virtual home is Burwood Hospital’s independent living unit, which houses people with spinal injuries when they first leave the ward. The patient could then have their home scanned and become familiar with their surroundings before moving out of the hospital.
“The opportunities for this technology are endless. Hypothetically we could create a 3D model of any environment a patient needs to become familiar with – whether that’s their rehab centre, such as at Burwood, or their home or work, anywhere really. We can laser scan almost any environment, there are real world benefits and the future is exciting.”Mark Finlayson, Envivo Director
The Burwood Spinal Unit (BSU) provides services for people with spinal cord impairments caused by accident, illness or congenital abnormalities.
Read more about the Virtual Simulator project