Moscow : Scientists have developed an early diagnosis system based on virtual reality (VR) that may allow devices like Google Glass to detect neuro-degenerative disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, within minutes.
The system being developed by Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) and Siberian State Medical University (SSMU) in Russia consists of augmented reality glasses, a non-contact sensor controller and a mobile platform.
The developers use already existing devices such as Google augmented glasses and Kinect sensor system.
When a person puts the glasses on, he gets into a virtual reality environment. The motion sensor detects changes of human body posture in 20 points.
A person without disorders quickly adapts to VR and keeps a stable position, a person with disorders can not adapt and loses balance.
“We have integrated existing devices and developed mathematical models for data analysis. We have also created a human skeleton model, identified 20 important points that Kinect monitors. Diagnosis provides results of deviations in the 20 points,” said David Khachaturyan, a scientist from TPU.
The system has been already tested by about 50 volunteers.
“In the experiment, we tested how VR influences people. The procedure took almost 10 minutes. The experiment engaged both healthy people and those whom doctors had already been found disorders by,” said Ivan Tolmachov from TPU.
“We have also found out how people with different diseases react to a virtual environment. For instance, people with Parkinson’s disease get hand tremor, more pronounced in the case of central nervous system,” he said.
Parkinson’s diseases, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease are slowly progressive, hereditary or acquired diseases of the nervous system.
A common feature for these diseases is a progressive loss of nerve cells neuro-degeneration, leading to various neurological symptoms primary to trouble with coordination.
According to the scientists, in the case of Parkinson’s disease cell death process can start at age of 30 but the symptoms of the disease will be noticeable only at 50.
Therefore, scientists around the world are seeking effective and affordable early diagnosis methods for neuro-degenerative diseases.
“To feel a function loss a person should lose about 80 per cent of related cells. But then there is no way back to recovery,” said Tolmachov.
“Therefore, it is so important to diagnosis the disease at early stages when patient can still get help,” he said.