Virtual Reality and Cognitive Rehabilitation: A Brief Review of the Future

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Virtual reality (VR) can be viewed as an advanced computer interface that allows the user to interact and become immersed within computer-generated simulated environments. Although media hype may have oversold VR's potential at this early stage in the technology's development, a uniquely suited match exists in VR's application to cognitive assessment and rehabilitation. VR offers the potential to develop human testing and training environments that allow for the precise control of complex stimulus presentations in which human cognitive and functional performance can be accurately assessed and rehabilitated. However, basic feasibility issues need to be addressed for this technology to be reasonably and efficiently applied to the cognitive rehabilitation (CR) of persons with acquired brain injury and neurological disorders. This article will present a brief introduction to the concepts of VR, as well as a rationale for the VRCR connection. Basic theoretical and pragmatic issues for this application will be discussed and a review of relevant work that has been done, or is currently in progress, will be presented along with recommendations for future investigation in this area.

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