92.9fm Regional News

  • Olivia Babb

Virtual Reality Is Helping Stroke Victims To Recover

A new technology for victims of limb deficit after stroke is being used in trials for rehabilitation out of the University of Newcastle and the Tamworth Education Centre.

The trial uses virtual reality and a glove that allows patients to feel electrical stimulation and haptics, so it feels natural when water is running in the simulation.


The world health report of 2002 found it is estimated that stroke affects approximately 15 million people worldwide every year, and among those, between 55% and 75% of these survivors continue with motor deficits and reduced quality of life following the event.


The idea of the VR trial is for people who have had a stroke and suffer limb deficit afterwards to explore if the use of virtual reality and glove can assist with therapy.

For patients, rehab therapy would be used to gain movement in everyday tasks like cutting food, brushing teeth and picking up items that can be difficult for patients suffering.



The innovation unit incorporates virtual reality, electrical stimulation, and haptics so patients can feel with the glove,

Fourth-year physio student Alivia said, "the study is so life like it's incredible."


Luke Wakely, Senior Lecturer in physiotherapy and Academic Team Lead Northwest University, has been with the study for the four years it's been running,


"We do functional tasks with them [patients], so there's a kitchen and a bathroom, and they're doing day to day tasks that that people would normally do at home and take for granted."




In patients post-stroke, practitioners know that increased intensity and early rehabilitation result in better functional outcomes.


Tamworth Education Centre is looking for participants that have suffered in their right arm only at this stage to receive five weeks of free therapy. The participants will receive either VR therapy or non-VR therapy and must be available three times a week over five weeks for the trial duration.


Dr Wakely says it's a great chance to be a part of new technology and gain therapy at no cost at all.


If you are interested in being a part of this research, please get in touch with the research team: (02) 49212041 or Jodie.Marquez@newcastle.edu.au