CAREN or Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment seems to be the next-gen mode of treatment & rehabilitation in this contemporary digital world. Claimed as a boon of the futuristic advancements in clinical technology, CAREN is a multi sensory Virtual Reality phenomenon developed for treatment & rehab of human locomotion, spinal stability & motor control. The brainchild & flagship product of the esteemed Motek Medical, CAREN counts on motion-capture elements to work on clinical & research settings. Along with the motion-capture element, it comes with 6 DOF, motion base, projection screen Human Body Model software & Motek's own D-flow software. 3 default models have been released till date - CAREN Basic, CAREN Extended & CAREN High-End and all of them could be customized as per specific needs. A good lot of elite athletes from all over the world speak highly of CAREN.
How it differs from conventional physical therapy
In a conventional physical therapy, the therapist would direct the patients on muscle movement & the latter has to obey the prescribed motion for treatment. But what if, the patient does not understand the exact medical term of a muscle as directed by the therapist? If the patient misinterprets the therapist's direction on muscle movement, chances are high that he might end up putting stress on the wrong muscle whilst the required muscle is never worked upon- leading to a completely futile treatment. But, CAREN extends a revolutionary means of physical therapy today that helps one to do away with such aforementioned issues. The virtual reality system builds up a stimulated ambience where physical therapy offered is clear about which muscles are to be activated. The patient will have visual display of which muscle is emphasized upon by the therapist which will automatically lead to an appropriate treatment along the right course.
How does it work?
You must be wondering that how does CAREN work. CAREN comes up with games & exercise programs that sweep the patient to varied virtual environments where they are assisted in specific needed motor actions. Consider CAREN as a holodeck from Star trek which comes with a round platform on the floor that integrates treadmill & force plate meant to measure movements on that circular platform. The concerned patient would be strapped into harness to eliminate risks of falling. Now, reflective strips & sensors would be fixed on his body. There would be 12 cameras fitted across the platform to ensure a 3600 view of motion when patient exercises & everything would be displayed right on the very screen before them. The measurements displayed assure real-time feedback so that the patient can improve his performance.
The patients will get to know which muscle was used. For example, if a certain muscle looks red, it means that it was not worked upon during exercise. With such effective visual feedback, the patient would be able to have a clear idea on which muscle his therapist is asking him to work on.
Features of CAREN treatment
Virtual Reality - Based on the principle of Virtual Reality, CAREN uses techniques to manipulate information which facilitates learning procedures & in both the virtual & real environments.
Immersive Environment - It enables learning of novel movement strategies & unlearning of ineffective movement strategies.
Walking & Movement Parameters - CAREN comes in with all the walking & movement parameters in real time which were once restricted to the research labs only- to help in effective monitoring & intervention.
CAREN addresses all major issues of physical therapy
CAREN is developed to look after the different issues common with physical therapy-
- Balance - The system involves 6 DOFs (degrees of freedom) which challenge the patient to maintain right balance while performing the exercises. The in-built sensors would track range of the motion & deliver real-time feedback that will help in adjusting the posture for better balance.
- Force - the force plate will measure force & offer feedback highlight how strong the concerned patient is performing. The adjustable treadmill could be customized for more complex challenges as the patient progresses further.
- Individualized observation on muscles - If you have to stimulate one single muscle, you will be able to do recurring work-out on that particular muscle & CAREN will assure you accurate performance data. The in-built muscle mapping program shows the patient which muscle has to be worked upon for turning the red hue to green or blue.
- Cognitive feedback - CAREN extends real-time cognitive feedback to patients suffering from brain injury which enables the latter to customize their very motions within the therapy session. The system works automatically assuring instant feedback for the patients.
- Muscle Groups - CAREM enables one to program the environment in such a way that is able to include refined exercise routines so that the patient gets to work on multiple muscles, if needed.
- Engaging sessions - As CAREN involves routines in virtual environment, you are guaranteed of novel & exciting programs.
CAREN is devised to offer treatment for multiple conditions:
- Motor injuries
- Brain injuries
- Back pain
- Bone injuries
- Orthopedic issues
- Sports issues
- Neurological disorders
- Posture-related conditions
- Balance disorders
- Prosthetic conditions
- It measures motion of the patient in response to perturbation from its computer driven in-built motion platform.
- Functions in real-time & creates varied situations in controlled & repeatable environ based on virtual reality, much instrumented pertubating portal & different feedback & feed-forward stimulators.
- Creates rehab environ which extends accurate therapeutic strategies based on virtual immersion.
- CAREN treatment methods assure faster rehab time.