The use of augmented reality for rehabilitation after stroke: a narrative review
Cassandra Gorman & Louise Gustafsson
Purpose: To explore research relating to the use of Augmented Reality (AR) technology for rehabilitation after stroke in order to better understand the current, and potential future application of this technology to enhance stroke rehabilitation.
Methods: Database searches and reference list screening were conducted to identify studies relating to the use of AR for stroke rehabilitation. These studies were then reviewed and summarised.
Results: Eighteen studies were identified where AR was used for upper or lower limb rehabilitation following stroke. The findings of these studies indicate the technology is in the early stages of development and application. No clear definition of AR was established, with some confusion between virtual and augmented reality identified. Most AR systems engaged users in rote exercises which lacked an occupational focus and contextual relevance. User experience was mostly positive, however the poor quality of the studies limits generalisability of these findings to the greater stroke survivor population.
Conclusion: AR systems are currently being used for stroke rehabilitation in a variety of ways however the technology is in its infancy and warrants further investigation. A consistent definition of AR must be developed and further research is required to determine the possibilities of using AR to promote practice of occupations in a more contextually relevant environment to enhance motor learning and generalisation to other tasks. This could include using AR to bring the home environment into the hospital setting to enhance practice of prioritised occupations before returning home.