Education in Virtual Worlds, Virtual World Platforms

Balance Disorders Aided by Virtual Rehab

The University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Otolaryngology has developed a virtual reality grocery store that is helping patients with balance disorders.

The grocery store is based in Pitt’s Medical Virtual Reality Center, a groundbreaking arena for balance control, which is part of the Raymond E. Jordan Center for Balance Disorders. The center features a “spatially-immersive display setting called the BNAVE (Balance NAVE Automatic Virtual Environment),” which in this case becomes the grocery store. Subjects “stand on a platform that is stationary, moves in response to a person’s sway, or moves in a predetermined fashion.”

Balance disorders can cause dizziness, vertigo, disequilibrium, and pre-syncope. In some cases, the condition can be debilitating, and there are many symptoms of the disorder including falling, nausea, disorientation, and anxiety.

This short video shows a subject moving through the virtual reality space:

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