Journal of the Korean Medical Association (대한의사협회지), Vol.56(1) : 16~22, 2013
Journal of the Korean Medical Association (대한의사협회지)
Virtual reality (VR) is defined as an approach to user-computer interface that involves real-time simulation of an environment, scenario, or activity that allows for user interaction via multiple sensory channels. In recent years, virtual reality has grown immensely with rapid advancement of VR technologies in the field of stroke rehabilitation. In this paper, current VR applications to the field of rehabilitation are reviewed. In the field of stroke rehabilitation, many clinical trials related to VR-based assessment and treatment have been performed to assess and treat arm dysfunction, walking ability, visuospatial problems, cognitive dysfunction, etc. Among them, VR is beneficial in improving arm function when compared with conventional therapy with limited evidence. Whether VR improves walking, visuospatial problems, or cognitive function has not been well established yet. However, VR can simulate the real environment without the risks arising from errors, and can also give a sense of immersion in the simulated environment and a concomitant feeling of 'presence'. Moreover, VR provides the motivation of gaming factors. With these advantages, VR will be one of the major advanced technologies for assessment and managing post-stroke dysfunction in the future.