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With TCS Launching A New VR Platform, India Takes A Giant Leap Towards Transforming Physiotherapy

With TCS Launching A New VR Platform, India Takes A Giant Leap Towards Transforming Physiotherapy

In India, 1.67% in the age group of 0 to 19 have a disability. 35.29% of all people living with disabilities are children and 80% of children with disabilities will not survive past age forty. Now with these abysmal numbers, many Indian tech giants are planning to harness virtual reality and related products and platforms to help people with physical rehabilitation.

India has now started making its presence felt in the market of VR. In fact, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) recently built a VR platform for helping out with physiotherapy, especially for children. Here is a peek into the technology and its possible prominence in the country.

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About The VR Platform

The VR platform is a result of a collaboration of TCS and Barclays and is called the Virtual Habilitation Platform, or VHAB. This is also in association with an NGO called the Adarsh Rehabilitation Centre (ARC). The motive behind VHAB is to improve the physiotherapy regimen of children with locomotor disabilities due to cerebral palsy or autism and provide digital assistance to the people.

The rehabilitation centre just outside Pune is called Zep Rehabilitation Centre and over one hundred kids that have disabilities like cerebral palsy, down syndrome and learning disabilities train there. These kids from ages between 2 and 14 who need some kind of physical therapy, use the VR platform and gadgets.

How Is It Going To Help

The technology uses has a bunch of motion sensors to track the movements and some amount of progressive analytics. The analysis also includes the gestures of the person. It also has technology like finger-mapping and real-time simulation, which is used to create a series of gamified and personalised simulation environments.

The platform is also capable of providing a way to measure the progress that the kids are making and allows the therapist to adjust the level accordingly. The VR platform can measure the progress of the kids are and allows the therapist to adjust the level of the platform accordingly. Such a platform also helps these specially abled kids to build multiple skills, apart from just helping them, especially the soft skills, since a VR platform would act as a mode of learning to the forefront and bring the ability to create and blend the learning experience and performance metrics of the kids. For instance, catching a ball and putting it in a basket needs hand-eye coordination. Apart from there, it also needs careful, calculated thinking. This VHAB should be able to teach the kids with abilities and skills like this.

VR Medical Applications In India

Numerous Indian doctors are using VR technology for cancer treatment. It lets the doctors visualise the tumour in VR mode, analyse it in 3D mode and carry out dry runs of the actual operation, helping in risk reduction.

A 21-year-old engineering graduate from Bengaluru, who had to go through physiotherapy involving a painful set of exercises and use painkiller drugs for it, watched videos using VR during his physiotherapy sessions and ended up doing 13 repetitions of the leg movement, which he could only do 5 earlier. The VR pain therapy involved wearing VR goggles and watching calming videos which help reduce pain. Medical practitioners, drug makers and hospitals in the country are increasingly using VR and AR technologies to help in therapy, surgery, marketing and spreading medical awareness.

Bangalore has a startup called Loop Reality, which is an effort to reimagine the cancer therapy treatment.  Imaginate Labs is a VR startup to create a VR museum to showcase different problems like acid attacks and other deformities that can be set right through plastic surgeries.

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Other efforts in this space are from startups like InceptionX and Health Connect Digita. A startup called HoloSuit has a VR product that captures the user’s body movement data and uses haptic feedback to send information back to the user. This has applications in healthcare, along with a range of different sectors. It is designed by Kaaya Tech.

“So far, we haven’t had a way to measure brain function. Using the Holosuit, we can measure what the patient is doing and extrapolate it to see whether the therapy is working or not, “ said Dr Sharan Srinivasan, neurosurgeon and Chairman, NewRo Rehab, a startup in the VR space who is using the Holosuit. Srinivasan been using the Holosuit for a few months now, mainly on patients who have had a stroke or a head injury, to understand how therapy is helping them.

Future Ahead

Along with its partner Barclays, TCS is looking forward to expanding the use of this VR platform for physical rehab, globally and make the lives of the specially-abled population better. the platform has already been deployed in four schools in Kerala in the past year, impacting over 500 children.

Anita Nanadikar, VP and head – incubation, research and innovation, TCS, said that they are looking at technologies like artificial intelligence, brain-computer interface and robotics to enhance VHAB for creating more engaging and immersive experiences for differently abled children. The new initiative is sure going to lead a long way and India should soon have many such platforms for the specially abled.

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