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Virtual reality game helps patients with MS: VIDEO























Virtual reality has been incorporated into physical therapy programs for quite some time. Now, a UTSA faculty member is using the technology in therapy pools to help people with multiple sclerosis.

John Quarles, associate professor of computer science, was diagnosed with MS 11 years ago.

"If you incorporate gaming into it and you can make it in an environment that you're not experiencing your symptoms quite as much, then it makes it a lot easier to stay motivated, and stay with the rehabilitation program and stay active," Quarles said.

He created "Shark Punch," a virtual reality game for aquatic rehabilitation.

Most of the classes he teaches are about gaming development and virtual reality research, so coming up with a game to help people like himself only made sense.

"It kind of makes you lose track of time when you're playing it, and it doesn't really feel like you're getting a workout because you're just punching the shark that's trying attack you," Quarles said.

The game is operated on a smartphone attached to goggles and a snorkel. If the user doesn't hit the shark, it "attacks," sending a signal to a sensor wrapped around the user.

“One of the difficult things about multiple sclerosis, especially, is that you have a lot of changes that happen from day to day. So one day you'll feel good and the next day you won’t feel good," Quarles said.

Many people with multiple sclerosis overheat when they exercise, making their symptoms worse. Exercising in the pool helps patients keep their temperature low and keep their balance.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by KSAT
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length

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