Affective States and Virtual Reality to Improve Gait Rehabilitation: A Preliminary Study

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Aug 3;19(15):9523. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19159523.


Over seven million people suffer from an impairment in Mexico; 64.1% are gait-related, and 36.2% are children aged 0 to 14 years. Furthermore, many suffer from neurological disorders, which limits their verbal skills to provide accurate feedback. Robot-assisted gait therapy has shown significant benefits, but the users must make an active effort to accomplish muscular memory, which usually is only around 30% of the time. Moreover, during therapy, the patients' affective state is mostly unsatisfied, wide-awake, and powerless. This paper proposes a method for increasing the efficiency by combining affective data from an Emotiv Insight, an Oculus Go headset displaying an immersive interaction, and a feedback system. Our preliminary study had eight patients during therapy and eight students analyzing the footage using the self-assessment Manikin. It showed that it is possible to use an EEG headset and identify the affective state with a weighted average precision of 97.5%, recall of 87.9%, and F1-score of 92.3% in general. Furthermore, using a VR device could boost efficiency by 16% more. In conclusion, this method allows providing feedback to the therapist in real-time even if the patient is non-verbal and has a limited amount of facial and body expressions.

Keywords: BCI; EEG; HCI; affective state; gait; rehabilitation; robot-assisted; virtual reality.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Emotions
  • Exercise Therapy / methods
  • Gait
  • Humans
  • Stroke Rehabilitation* / methods
  • Virtual Reality*

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.