Chrysalis: Adaptive Physical Rehabilitation in Extended Reality (XR)

Presenter: Haleigh Whitlock

Research Category: Interdisciplinary Topics, Centers and Institutes
College: College of Engineering
Major(s): Bioengineering
Student Type: Graduate
Graduation Date: 2021
Additional Authors: Nathan Miner, Jason Miller, Semaa Amin, Ningyu Ding, Tanmay Alsi, Rachelle Angeli Mara–on, Wen Gu
Award Winner Category: Interdisciplinary Topics

Rehabilitation is a critical and transformative time in a patient’s life. Rehabilitation regimens are integral to a successful recovery requiring consistent and repeated exercise and assessment. However, problems with access and delivery of physical rehabilitation programs are common. To address accessibility and improve the effectiveness of rehabilitation, an interdisciplinary team of Northeastern University students, in collaboration with researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard, have been developing Chrysalis, an immersive VR experience that guides patients through their regimens supporting their physical and emotional recovery. Utilizing the benefits of immersion in nature for stress reduction and to nurture a positive mental framework, Chrysalis accompanies patients on their journey through recovery offering a mix of guided trainings, progression mapping, and activity feedback with a meditative audio/visual adventure that transports them to destinations world-wide via 360 degree panoramic photos and videos. Patients begin by selecting their course of rehabilitation and choosing a virtual travel destination. An outline of their journey is created in relation to this destination and the specific protocol of their rehabilitation. Each work session drives them closer to this goal, helping them maintain and motivate their progress toward it. Each session rewards patients with rich aesthetics that their efforts literally bring to light and into focus through the engagement with the app. The current work focuses on rehabilitation for total knee arthroplasty, but the end goal is to enable a general remote, adaptive, accurate, interactive, accessible and low-cost physical rehabilitation method.