More than 50,000 Australians suffering the effects of neurological conditions will have greater access to cost-effective rehab thanks to VR technology.
By Ruby Stewart, Future Adelaide Intern
More than 50,000 Australians suffering the effects of neurological conditions could benefit from new VR technology being developed at Lot Fourteen.
It provides stroke sufferers with a cost-effective alternative to current rehabilitation programs and can be delivered in their own homes.
With 39 per cent of patients leaving hospital without a proper plan and rehabilitation costing up to $44,000, there is a significant roadblock to people reaching their full recovery potential.
“One of the biggest problems in Australia currently is access to rehab and the second one is adherence to exercises once in a care facility,” says Daish Malani, founder of Add-Life Technologies, operating out of Stone & Chalk start-up hub.
Malani has created a new approach to rehabilitation in which patients put on a virtual reality headset and can improve their neuroplasticity, mobility, and dexterity through immersive games.
“Without using any external sensors or needing to require anything except putting a headset on your face, it takes (away) the barrier to a lot of rehabilitation tools,” Malani says.
The program is enhanced through visuals, music and an artificial intelligence guide.
“It just became apparent that this would be a perfect way to teach someone how to use their body again,” he says.
The exercise program can be completed at home, with an accompanying smartphone app providing patients and their support systems with a report of their condition and progress.
“At the end of a session, you will receive a snapshot of where your current ability is and that’s a motivational tool to keep people within the system,” says Malani.
Home rehabilitation can cost up to $160 an hour, which Malani says makes lifelong care out of financial reach for a lot of people.
He says Add-Life has been created to be cost-effective; priced at $3080 for the first year and $1440 for every following year, including hardware costs: “Eventually it will be included in insurance programs and other facility efficiency programs.”
This technology is particularly useful for patients located in regional areas struggling to access services due to distance and availability.
“If you’re in a situation where (accessing rehabilitation is) just impossible then it’s quite serious,” Malani says.
With Add-Life, carers can keep track of patient’s rehabilitation remotely.
“Your data speaks for yourself … you’re no longer a closed book of information.”
Add-Life could also be expanded for use in the aged-care sector, allowing those with limited mobility access to virtual scenarios.
“If you’re in bed and you’re wanting to go to Venice, we can provide that,” Malani says.
Trials will start in August, with Add-Life expected to be in the hands of the public early next year.
Original article published on adelaidenow.com.au
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