Virtual reality (VR) has shown promise as an intervention technique to improve motor function in individuals with stroke and neurological disorders. VR can provide a powerful human-computer interface that allows clients to interact with a virtual environment (VE) and experience a simulated world comparable to the real world (Gallichio and Kluding, 2004). One can manipulate objects in a VE using various VR peripherals, e.g., motion capture, data gloves, etc. The VE can be structured to provide stimulating audiovisual feedback that promotes motor learning and enhances participation in a rehabilitation process. VR based interventions permit rehabilitation professionals to shape target tasks according to the abilities of an individual client. VE's offer the potential of greater engagement of a client in treatment sessions and thus increase sensory feedback to enhance motor learning. In addition, the ability to gather real-time motion capture data allows therapists to quantitatively document change and assist in the diagnosis of movement dysfunction. This paper describes a software application under development that permits the delivery of customized physical therapy interventions via a variety of display types. The design and implementation of a virtual kitchen used to practice common daily-living activities is described. Joint angle data is captured as clients complete specified daily-living tasks within the VE, e.g., making a virtual cup of coffee. Client motion is visualized using a virtual "arm" that provides patient feedback within the VE. Associated motion capture data can be used to quantitatively assess the effectiveness of the VR-based physical therapy intervention within the developed software application.
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