The Application of Virtual Reality Technology in Rehabilitation

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ABSTRACT.Virtual reality (VR) is an emerging technology with a variety of potential benefits for many aspects of rehabilitation assessment, treatment, and research. Through its capacity to allow the creation and control of dynamic 3-dimensional, ecologically valid stimulus environments within which behavioral responding can be recorded and measured, VR offers clinical assessment and rehabilitation options that are not available with traditional methods. Initial applications of VR in other aspects of medicine and psychology have yielded encouraging results, but continued research and understanding of this evolving technology will be crucial for its effective integration into rehabilitation. This article provides a brief introduction to VR technology, examines the specific benefits VR offers consumers and providers of rehabilitation services, and discusses potential areas of application and important considerations in applying this technology. Finally, 2 examples of current VR applications are presented.

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