UW Bioengineering Ph.D. students Brian Mogen and Tyler Libey lead a 4-member team developing vHAB, a interactive virtual reality platform to rehabilitate stroke victims. The project was recently featured on UW’s homepage and in a UW-produced video.

vHAB began as an entry in the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) 2014 Tech Sandbox Competition. Brian and Tyler collaborated with neurobiology undergraduate student Lars Crawford to develop a working prototype. The team continued to consult with clinicians at Harborview Medical Center and witnessed first-hand the obstacles that stroke victims undergoing rehabilitation encounter.

The team further developed their prototype, integrating an Oculus Rift virtual realty headset and a Leap Motion device to measure hand movements into their design and creating games emulating the therapy tasks they observed patients completing at Harborview. The team took first place in the Tech Sandbox Competition and also participated in the 2014 UW Business Plan Competition, where they advanced to the Investor Round. Read more about vHAB and the other UW Bioengineering teams that participated in the 2014 UW Business Plan competition.

Currently, the team is seeking funding to start their first patient study. They’ve been working with UW’s Center for Commercialization (C4C) for advice and help in the process of pitching to investors and marketing their project.

The team has started to present vHAB to clinicians and therapists, and has found the initial response to be encouraging. ““We’ve seen their eyes light up and they say, ‘When can we have this? I can’t wait for people to use this,’” says Brian. The team is excited about the opportunity for their project to impact patients’ lives.