Reaching in Several Realities: Motor and Cognitive Benefits of Different Visualization Technologies

Wenk, Nicolas; Peñalver de Andrés, Joaquín; Palma, Rara; Bütler, Karin; Müri, René; Nef, Tobias; Marchal Crespo, Laura (June 2019). Reaching in Several Realities: Motor and Cognitive Benefits of Different Visualization Technologies. IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR), pp. 1037-1042. IEEE 10.1109/ICORR.2019.8779366

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There is increasing interest in using virtual reality (VR) in robotic neurorehabilitation. However, the use of conventional VR displays (i.e., computer screens), implies several transformations between the real movements in 3D and their 2D virtual representations that might negatively impact the rehabilitation interventions. In this study, we compared the impact on movement quality and cognitive load of novel vs. standard visualization technologies: i) Immersive VR (IVR) head-mounted display (HMD), ii) Augmented reality (AR) HMD, and iii) Computer screen. Twenty healthy participants performed simultaneously a motor and a cognitive task. Goal-oriented reaching movements were recorded using an HTC Vive controller. The cognitive load was assessed by the accuracy on a simultaneous counting task. The movement quality improved when visualizing the movements in IVR, compared to the computer screen. These improvements were more evident for locations that required movements in several dimensions. We found a trend to higher movement quality in AR than Screen, but worse than IVR. No significant difference was observed between modalities for the cognitive load. These results provide encouraging evidence that VR interventions using HMDs might be more suited for reaching tasks in several dimensions than a computer screen. Technical limitations might still limit the beneficial effects of AR, both in movement quality and cognitive load.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


10 Strategic Research Centers > ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research > ARTORG Center - Gerontechnology and Rehabilitation
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology

UniBE Contributor:

Wenk, Nicolas; Peñalver de Andrés, Joaquín Álvaro; Bütler, Karin; Müri, René Martin; Nef, Tobias and Marchal Crespo, Laura


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








[4] Swiss National Science Foundation
[158] B. Braun Foundation


[1183] OnLINE: Optimize motor Learning to Improve NEurorehabilitation




Nicolas Wenk

Date Deposited:

26 Aug 2019 15:03

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 13:25

Publisher DOI:





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