Stealth Products and Underminer Studios teamed up to develop a VR simulation to train new power wheelchair (PWC) drivers by creating a driving simulator experience in virtual reality introducing gaming as an assessment tool for therapeutic uses with data and analytics output from the simulation.
“The team at Underminer Studios have been wonderful to work with. The knowledge they have in the VR space has helped us develop a life-changing tool.”
-Gabriel Romero, Director of Global Business Development at Quantum and Stealth Products
The process to train and be approved for a power wheelchair (PWC) is between 6-8 weeks from initiation to completion. Patients may have to overcome other physical barriers in this time frame like being able to sit upright and being fitted for the proper drive control. Training can be consists of a very large and open area where they can practice operating a heavy and fast piece of machinery which can be dangerous. Given the short time and taxed clinicians patients may not qualify due to many factors. This greatly affects the quality of their life, their loved ones, and the long-term ability to do day-to-day tasks. Once a patient is denied coverage for a PWC they do not have another opportunity to retest.
Underminer Studios developed the DIGIT Method for their training modules in 2017. Each user progresses through gamified experience facing fears, phobias, and wellness content at their own pace, pausing in a Calm World when needed. Immersion in a safe virtual environment speeds up effectiveness. This was built as a modular tool set in which more levels can be added for training or gameplay, additional controls can be added for the user to interact with smart home systems or other technology tools. Adding video recording with machine learning and other capabilities to create a robust data set is a long-term goal. Volumetric Video is the most realistic digital content and will be added later as a guide feature.
Using readily available hardware, the Microsoft MR Headset and a VR ready laptop makes this a widely accessible tool for both users and clinicians. The VR immersive experience prepares new drivers with motion sensation, real-time physics, and control of the PWC using any physical drive control to learn maneuvers, and daily routine challenges with common obstacles and goals.
A direct connection from the i-Drive chair control to Windows which controls the VR interface means a PWC is not required to train. Professionals can safely monitor the new driver’s progress and areas needing improvement. No need for a large open area for driver training, this can be accomplished from a comfortable static setting in the technician’s office. All allowing users to train in a safe and effective virtual environment.
STUDIO: Underminer Studios