31 Oct 2016

Immersive Rehab: creating physical rehabilitation in virtual reality

By Matthew

We are now over half way through the Autumn 2016 programme and Demo Day is in sight. So we thought it a good time to sit down with the teams for a chat about their ventures. The founder of Immersive Rehab, Isabel Van De Keere, seen modelling a virtual reality headset, was next to join us.

What problem is Immersive Rehab tackling?

Physical rehab is often not an accessible, engaging and motivating activity to go through and keep up with. Stroke patients and people with limited mobility in upper limbs for example often cannot engage with physical objects during physical rehab due to lack of strength which slows down their recovery process. Also those patients often do not have access to follow-up rehab once they are up and walking while still having very limited upper limb mobility. Scientific research has shown that retraining the brain can still lead to important gains in mobility. That is where VR comes in!

How are you going about solving that problem?

Immersive Rehab is providing a solution to current limitations of physical rehab, in particular for people with upper limb mobility limitations due to neurological conditions. By combining neuro- & physical rehab in VR, it is possible to achieve better improvements in mobility. When people enter the virtual world, they perform physical rehab exercises by interacting with virtual objects, something not achievable in the real world. By tricking the brain into thinking that one is actually interacting with objects, important gains in mobility can be achieved.

What has been the best piece of advice you have been given whilst working on your venture?

The best piece of advice was to focus on understanding the customers and users first, prior to starting to build prototypes and MVPs of the platform. The interactions with the physiotherapists, occupational therapists, neuroscientists, academics and patients have been incredibly insightful and crucial for going forward and building a product that is most effective for the needs of the patients and healthcare professionals.

I will always remember a second piece of advice once given to me: “Be brave! Be strong! Be passionate!”

What is the big vision for Immersive Rehab?

The vision of Immersive Rehab is to improve the outcome of physical rehabilitation, speed up patient recovery and increase general wellbeing of patients going through rehab. In the long term, I want the Immersive Rehab platform to be helping a large and global group of people going through rehabilitation. There will be an extensive library of virtual reality exercises that are tailored for specific conditions and individual needs.

How can the BGV community help you out?

Being part of BGV gives Immersive Rehab access to a large network of experienced entrepreneurs, business professionals and industry contacts. Immersive Rehab is currently at a stage where such a network and support is crucial to take the company to the next level in terms of development and growth. So please reach out to us if you have links to neuro-/physical rehabilitation facilities and physiotherapists or a story of your own to share regarding neuro-/physical rehabilitation.