Motivational Walk VR
It is estimated that 200 million people worldwide suffer from peripheral artery disease. The classic symptom is leg pain when walking which resolves with rest, known as intermittent claudication. The pain is caused by clogged arteries, limiting the blood flow to the legs. Unless treated, peripheral artery disease can lead to amputation of the legs, coronary artery disease, or stroke.
Patients can undergo surgery or engage in exercise programmes. Although treadmill exercise is an effective therapeutic intervention, only 14 percent of patients in the Netherlands are prescribed this treatment, because it is very painful. The goal for patients is to push themselves beyond their pain barrier, and thereby increase their maximum walking distance.
We believe that technology can work as a catalyst for change. Therefore, we created a Virtual Reality environment which is designed to distract patients from the pain in their legs. Experiencing less pain allows patients to walk further, which increases therapy effectiveness.
The therapist can also plant a flag at a previously reached distance. Setting a challenging yet attainable physical goal enhances motivation. Furthermore, the application allows the therapist to stretch the virtual environment, including the distance towards the flag. Preliminary study results indicate that this goes unnoticed, and that it may increase therapy effectiveness even further.
- Distraction from pain during treadmill exercise
- Increase walking distance to increase therapy effectiveness
- More fun than regular walking therapy
- Set goals for extra motivation