Deep Team's Latest Breakthroughs: A Closer Look At The Long Covid Solution

“For the player it’s simple, yet it’s hard to explain how much better it made me feel … just five minutes strapped to deep’s breathing device felt remarkable.”- Joe Donnelly

Vr4rehabLongCovid Interreg project Explore DEEP is a Virtual Reality Biofeedback game controlled by breathing.

Previous to getting engaged with Vr4rehabLongCovid, the game was mostly designed for and tested in people with anxiety symptoms in non-clinical settings; The VR4rehab project allowed us to test if the game could be useful in hospitals and other clinical settings.

Specifically we want to investigate how Deep could further facilitate rehabilitation of people suffering from functional (neurological) disorders and long covid.

Our partners from  St. Mauritius Therapieklinik (Germany) and Wroclaw medical University  (Poland) focused on functional disorders and functional neurological disorders. Later on the project Radboud umc Medical center got involved  to see how Deep could be used for long covid patients and lung rehabilitation in general.

So where are we at?

A lot has been done on the development side of the project to improve the user experience and make it more useful to implement in hospital settings. 

One of the key developments was porting the game to Pico Neo, as most hospitals use it due to its easy portability and ease of cleanup.

The previously used belt has been redesigned and improved, so the primary way to control the game is through the use of a wireless bluetooth-enabled belt that measures diaphragmatic breathing. It is easy to adjust for the players themselves and is easy to put on.

When it comes to enhancing the user experience for both patients and clinicians

On the one hand, we have created the user manual to improve the ease of configuring and running a session. We have also done a lot in terms of controller instructions. It is mostly done with the belt, but we can also add some options so that clinicians can also control the experience within the section with hand controllers.

On the research side, we currently have a data back end with csv output and study protocols have been finalized. The first clinicians interviews have been conducted, and the ethical application for our pilot with St. Mauritius has been  submitted. 

We are also currently exploring Medical Devices Regulations and the pilot with patients from Poland has recently started.

What do clinicians think of it?

(Neuro) psychiatrist and psychotherapist  clinicians considered that Explore Deep could add value to patients with anxiety and panic disorder, somatoform symptoms, post respiratory infection and those that already practice breathing and relaxation exercises.

Insights Gathered

  • We learned about the clinical & player needs
  • We learned a lot about  collaborating with medical partners
  • Research and commercialization can be complicated to  balance
  • We are increasing our knowledge about  Medical Device Regulations.

More information will be displayed about Explore DEEP in the next VR4LongCovid Webinar

Be part of the XR4REHAB Network!

Everyone with an affinity (in the broadest sense) with XR technology in the healthcare and rehabilitation sector can become member of the XR4REHAB Collaboration & Innovation Network and benefit from several advantages.

All we ask from you is active participation. How? For instance by joining one of the working groups, by the provision of research expertise, by granting access to patients or IT students.

Interested?  Find more information here.


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