The Orange, NJ-based Kessler Foundation recently announced that it will partner with the University of Southern California (USC) Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), Los Angeles. Together, the organizations will pursue clinical research projects focused on applying virtual reality technology to cognitive and motor rehabilitation research. Albert Rizzo, PhD, USC ICT Medical Virtual Reality research group, says the goal of the research collaboration is to develop the evidence base to support the future of home-based rehabilitation that is effective, convenient, and affordable. 

John DeLuca, PhD, Kessler Foundation vice president for research, calls the collaboration ideal and explains that the organizations, “Both have clinical and technical expertise in virtual reality technology and a strong research ethic,” and adds that the collaboration will allow researchers to, “assess patients in controllable interactive environments and test rehabilitation interventions in settings that reflect the challenges of everyday life.”

According to a Kessler Foundation news release, the USC-ITC has built its foundation on sophisticated, low-cost gaming technologies in order to develop interactive systems for clinical applications. Along the same vein, the Kessler Foundation reports that its rehabilitation research focuses on the patient populations likely to benefit from virtual reality rehabilitation, including brain injury, spinal cord injury (SCI), and multiple sclerosis (MS).

Rizzo explains the reported benefits of integrating virtual reality into rehabilitation practices, “Clinical studies using virtual reality are producing results that will reshape the future of the inpatient, outpatient, and home-based medical rehabilitation. When managed by skilled clinicians, the accessibility and flexibility offered by engaging game-based therapies will likely improve the quality of life for people with a variety of disabilities.”

Source: Kessler Foundation