AFRL A Mixed Reality System for Cognitive Rehabilitation of TBI

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the most common combat-related injury and results in disturbances of attention, memory, and executive function. Sixty percent of troops who survive external injuries from bomb blasts may have TBI. A TBI survivor faces 5 to 10 years of intensive rehabilitation costing an estimated $4 million. It is thus imperative to develop new ways to diagnose and treat TBI.

The Virtual Reality Medical Center (VRMC), partnering with the Media Convergence Lab (MCL) at University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation and Training (UCF/IST), will develop a mixed reality rehabilitation system for TBI patients. Animal studies have shown that animals raised in enriched environments have improved cognitive functioning/responses. The goal of this project is to use mixed reality (MR) to create an enriched virtual environment designed to stimulate and improve cognitive functions in service men and women who have traumatic brain injury (TBI). This MR tool will thus provide troops suffering from blast-induced TBI an effective form of cognitive rehabilitation with the goal of allowing them to return to service.

In Phase I, VRMC and the University of Central Florida will develop a prototype MR system with one cognitive-enhancing scenario.

This work has been recognized by the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission, which invited VRMC to apply for the 2007 William C. Schwartz Industry Innovation Award.

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