Posted by Ian FAIRNIE on Jun 11, 2023

Virtual Reality (VR) Update 

Professor Marina Ciccarelli* with Guest Speaker Coordinator Dr Barry Mendelawitz.
Professor Marina Ciccarelli first spoke to us about her VR research back in 2019 and returned last week to update members on how far the technology has come in the past few years.  Like a lot of medical science, the advances in knowledge and skills has been breathtaking, and with AI moving to play a major part of our lives, it may well be a case of “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”
Marina’s research focuses on Spinal Cord Injury, and rehabilitation of cases that only a few years ago would have been classified as hopeless.  However it seems that if a few nerve fibres are still intact, they can be taught to adapt through challenging activities, guided by VR.  This finding opens up the opportunities to use VR headsets to help rehabilitate stroke victims and those who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.
Using VR headsets (like the ones we donated after her last visit), the patients are presented with challenges such as imagining the preparation of a cheeseburger.
And this can now be done remotely so the patient doesn’t need to come to a specialist clinic in Perth for this therapy, because it can now be done at home. This is a huge step forward for people who live some distance away. 
* Interesting Fact: Marina is the daughter of Cecil Aaron, a Club member who passed away a few years ago.
Coincidentally, this week also saw the launch of Apple’s new VR hardware and software: