Might virtual reality make physical therapy more fun for kids?
According to Northeastern University: “Northeastern’s Danielle Levac develops video games to make physical therapy more fun, motivating, and rewarding for patients—especially for children with movement impairments, such as those with cerebral palsy.”
“Levac, professor of physical therapy in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences, invited a group of fifth-grade students from Boston’s Ellis Mendell Elementary School to visit her lab last week. The young students sat in the Rehabilitation Games and Virtual Reality Laboratory illuminated by floor-to-ceiling screens with virtual worlds on them, and learned about what physical therapists do and how research can benefit their patients.”
The piece continues: “Students whacked large balls at targets and jumped through bubbles in a virtual environment created using an Xbox 360 Kinect. The information collected from the students’ play will be used to make it easier for parents and therapists to monitor kids’ progress and understand how they use their bodies during game play.”
Conclusion: “Part of what Levac studies is the difference between learning and repeating new tasks in the physical and virtual world. Each posed its own challenges for the students as they worked out how to move through the games.”