Making rehab fun using VR
Christian Doran, Founder and CEO of RecoveryVR, explains how his product uses VR to help patients rehabilitate after neurological injury.
Can you give an overview of RecoveryVR?
RecoveryVR uses VR to assist with physical rehabilitation and pain management. We take evidence-based physio techniques and turn them into fun games.
RecoveryVR uses the latest VR headsets to make gamified recovery and rehabilitation easy and accessible for patients and physiotherapists alike. The product can be used in a physio’s practice or by the patient at home. Our motto is more fun, more reps, better results.
What inspired you to set up RecoveryVR?
I've known people who've had strokes – when I realised that I could use immersive technology for good I was inspired to shift from my background in film-making to set up RecoveryVR.
There have been discussions about VR-based rehabilitation for a long time, but it's only recently that technology has caught up and it's become possible.
How does VR exercise work, and how does it benefit people who need rehab?
The Stroke Foundation recommends 3 hours' rehab per day to aid in recovery, but this can be monotonous and very repetitive for patients. Our aim at RecoveryVR is to help patients forget the exercises and achieve their rehab goals by engaging with highly immersive VR content.
How are patients responding to the technology?
Patients are loving it. We've seen them use the technology in the most unexpected ways. Some have even done their sessions hanging upside down! It’s great to see them interact with the technology and have a more enjoyable theraputic experience.
AR/VR has so many applications – how do you see these technologies transforming the way we work?
I see AR being like our phones, in that we'll interact with it all day every day. It'll become the norm for us. VR will become like our TV or computer screen and will be where we go to work, consume information, entertainment and content.
Do you see any barriers to large-scale adoption of XR technology?
When you're using VR, you put on a headset and the technology creates a 3D environment with significant distance and depth. The reality of the situation is that your eyes are focused on screens that are very close. Developments in optics will be important to widespread adoption.
Are there any drawbacks to using immersive technology?
Apart from the optics (which can cause eye strain), some people experience motion sickness when they're using a VR headset, and it can be a pain if the glass fogs up. These issues are being addressed and should be solved soon though.
What advice would you give to people who want to get into the XR industry?
Do it now! It's been predicted that by 2026 the VR healthcare industry will be worth over $2.4 billion. And this is just the healthcare space.
XR technology is prevalent across many different industries: education, training, gaming, and architecture, to name just a few.
I feel that VR is a solution that's always looking for a new problem to solve – it really is a great time to be part of the industry.