Kinematics of reaching movements in a 2-D virtual environment in adults with and without stroke

IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2012 Nov;20(6):778-87. doi: 10.1109/TNSRE.2012.2206117. Epub 2012 Aug 14.


Virtual reality environments are increasingly being used for upper limb rehabilitation in poststroke patients. Our goal was to determine if arm reaching movements made in a 2-D video-capture virtual reality environment are similar to those made in a comparable physical environment. We compared arm and trunk kinematics for reaches made with the right, dominant arm to three targets (14 trials per target) in both environments by 16 adults with right poststroke hemiparesis and by eight healthy age-matched controls. Movement kinematics were recorded with a three-camera optoelectronic system at 100 samples/s. Reaching movements made by both control and stroke subjects were affected by viewing the targets in the video-capture 2-D virtual environment. Movements were slower, shorter, less straight, less accurate and involved smaller ranges of shoulder and elbow joint excursions for target reaches in the virtual environment compared to the physical environment in all subjects. Thus, there was a decrease in the overall movement quality for movements made in the 2-D virtual environment. This suggests that 2-D video-capture virtual reality environments should be used with caution when the goal of the rehabilitation program is to improve the quality of movement patterns of the upper limb.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Arm / physiology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena*
  • Calibration
  • Computer Simulation
  • Cues
  • Elbow Joint / physiology
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Paresis / etiology
  • Paresis / physiopathology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Shoulder Joint / physiology
  • Stroke / physiopathology*
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*
  • User-Computer Interface*