Purpose: This paper seeks to describe how novel technologies such as the computer-assisted research environment (CAREN) may improve physical and cognitive rehabilitation for wounded warfighters. Design/methodology/approach: The CAREN system is a dynamic platform which may assist service members who have sustained improvised explosive device injuries during Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn. The complex nature of warfighter injuries present unique rehabilitation challenges that demand new tools for quick return to active duty or the civilian community. Findings: Virtual reality-based gait training programs may directly influence physiological and biomechanical performance for those who have endured combat injuries. The CAREN system provides a safe, interactive environment for the user while capturing kinematic and kinetic data capture to improve rehabilitation regimens. Conclusions: This paper provides an overview of the CAREN system and describes how this dynamic rehabilitation aid may be a translational tool for collecting biomechanical and physiological data during prosthetic training. The CAREN platform allows users to be fully immersed in a virtual environment while healthcare providers use these simulations to improve gait and stability, obstacle avoidance, or improved weight shifting. As such, rehabilitation regimens may be patient specific.
- Service members
- Wounded warriors