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Breaking Barriers in Rehabilitation: The Advancement of Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality

mix reality digital therapy

Immersive technologies are constantly evolving, opening new opportunities for highly personalized experiences. These innovations are revolutionizing the healthcare sector, especially in the rehabilitation and treatment of patients with neurological disorders, orthopedic injuries, and geriatric challenges

In this innovative scenario, two terms stand out as emerging pillars in therapy: augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR), marking a before and after in care and recovery strategies.

In this Kinesix VR article, we delve into the essence of AR and MR, their differences, their applications in medicine, and their transformative effects in motor therapy and neurorehabilitation.

What is Augmented and Mixed Reality?

Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality are cutting-edge technologies that mix digital elements with the real world, however, they do it in slightly different ways. 

Augmented Reality enhances the real-world environment with digital overlays, enriching existing surroundings without creating a fully immersive experience. 

On the other hand, Mixed Reality merges real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects coexist and interact in real-time. This seamless integration allows for more dynamic and interactive experiences, which is particularly beneficial in therapeutic environments

The purpose of mixed reality in virtual reality therapy

The integration of mixed reality by Kinesix VR is setting a precedent in the treatment of neurological and orthopedic disorders, optimizing rehabilitation and offering more attractive and intensive alternatives to patients

One of the most significant innovations of Kinesix VR is its ability to personalize the therapeutic experience. By immersing patients in an environment that combines the real with the virtual, it creates therapy sessions that are not only more engaging, but also much more adaptable in terms of adjusting the difficulty of the exercises, the patient's motor ability and symptom management, and allowing access to motor and cognitive training both in the clinic and at home. 

This customization ensures that each patient can work on their specific challenges in a safe and effective way, enhancing recovery and rehabilitation.

In addition, by interacting with both real and virtual elements, patients can forget about the traditional limitations of the rehabilitation environment.

This immersion not only helps improve motor and cognitive skills but also contributes significantly to the patient's motivation and emotional well-being. The sense of accomplishment that comes with overcoming challenges in a virtual environment translates into confidence and progress in the real world.

What are the main benefits of Mixed Reality in motor rehabilitation?

augmented reality

As explained previously, Mixed Reality combines reality with the digital world, providing a new form of spatial interactions by blending these two worlds.

The main benefits of MX in patients with motor difficulties are:

  • Safety: Mixed reality provides a safer and more controlled environment, minimizing the risk of falls and collisions by combining virtual elements with the real environment, which improves patients' confidence in their rehabilitation, especially during self-training at home.

  • Cognitive-Motor improvements: Mixed reality allows for creating rehabilitation exercises that incorporate the patient's physical environment, which can enhance the transfer of learned skills to everyday life. This is because rehabilitation takes place within specific, personalized contexts, thus increasing the relevance and effectiveness of treatment.

  • Greater presence: This increased 3D sense of presence helps patients feel more connected and committed to the rehabilitation process, which can result in a more effective and motivating experience.

  • Accessibility and comfort: Mixed reality is more comfortable, especially for those users who may experience dizziness or disorientation with VR, as it keeps them connected with the real environment, which can help reduce the feeling of disorientation.

Mixed reality in the rehabilitation of patients with motor difficulties not only enhances the safety and effectiveness of exercises but also increases the comfort and engagement of the patient, making the recovery process more relevant and motivating.

Progress and the Future of Mixed Reality

mixed reality

The future of mixed reality in motor rehabilitation looks promising and full of innovative possibilities, including:

  • Interaction with the real and virtual world: It can be especially beneficial for exercises that require object manipulation or spatial navigation, as it provides a more integrated and closer experience to activities of daily living.

  • Improved context and spatial perception: Unlike virtual reality, which completely immerses the user in a virtual environment, mixed reality enhances the patient's real environment by adding virtual information or stimuli. This can be crucial for patients who need to improve their spatial perception, coordination, and motor skills in contexts that more closely resemble their everyday living environments.

  • Application in different environments: Since mixed reality can overlay virtual elements in the real world, it can be used in a variety of settings, such as at home, in the clinic, or outdoors. This facilitates the transition of skills learned during rehabilitation to real-life situations and allows for more flexible and accessible therapy.

In conclusion, mixed reality offers unique opportunities for motor rehabilitation by enabling richer and more contextual interaction with the real environment, seamlessly integrating virtual elements to create personalized and effective rehabilitation experiences. 

As this technology evolves, its impact on motor rehabilitation is likely to expand, offering new tools to enhance patient recovery.


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