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Disabil Rehabil. 1997 Jun;19(6):213-20.

Virtual reality, disability and rehabilitation.

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Department of Psychology, University of Leicester, UK.


Virtual reality, or virtual environment computer technology, generates simulated objects and events with which people can interact. Existing and potential applications for this technology in the field of disability and rehabilitation are discussed. The main benefits identified for disabled people are that they can engage in a range of activities in a simulator relatively free from the limitations imposed by their disability, and they can do so in safety. Evidence that the knowledge and skills acquired by disabled individuals in simulated environments can transfer to the real world is presented. In particular, spatial information and life skills learned in a virtual environment have been shown to transfer to the real world. Applications for visually impaired people are discussed, and the potential for medical interventions and the assessment and treatment of neurological damage are considered. Finally some current limitations of the technology, and ethical concerns in relation to disability, are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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