Virtually Walking

Designing interfaces for rehabilitation

What is the project

Physical therapy to improve walking after illness or injury is vitally important, but patients often find it difficult, painful and boring. Virtual Reality is increasingly being used to enhance physical therapy, but simulating walking through virtual worlds remains a challenge, and mapping physical movements into the virtual space is complex. The design of the system itself can influence movement, and the user’s own perception of their motion is distorted, making it difficult to create believable and immersive locomotor interfaces. Our fundamental research in this field is contributing to the understanding of the design of virtual walking applications and supporting the development of effective rehabilitation interventions.

Impact

We are developing a design toolkit to support researchers to make informed decisions when creating bespoke applications for virtual rehabilitation. Our research results are already being used by researchers from around the world, and we have been invited to give a number of lectures and workshops on the topic at international conferences.