Rehab Centre launches Virtual Reality Lab

The Ottawa Hospital Rehabilitation Centre officially launched it’s virtual reality lab with an open house, tour and unveiling of Canada’s first complete C.A.R.E.N system. This state-of-the-art facility will allow people with disabilities to improve their mobility and balance through the use of safe computer-controlled simulated real life scenarios. By combining simple cognitive tasks with physical tasks in a lab environment, this system allows patients to be exposed to optimized therapeutic challenges without the risk and of self injury and stress associated with possible injury.

The C.A.R.E.N system includes a motion base platform that is similar to a flight simulator platform, an instrumented dual-belt treadmill, a safety support system, surround sound speakers, a 180 degree screen supported by 4 projectors and 12 VICON infrared motion capture cameras. The entire system is controlled in real time allowing the operator to change application settings on the fly to respond to a patient’s specific needs.

While the system will initially focus on mobility applications other uses are on the horizon as research and development progresses.