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Oculus Rift and Kinect Used to Simulate Prosthetic Limbs in Sheffield Hallam University Project

It’s been quite a week for alternative uses of the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD). Some of the first VR movies have been revealed and dated while scitentists are planning to use the device as a virtual pair of eyes on the Moon’s surface. Now another new project has been display, this time from Sheffield Hallam University in the UK. A team is using the Oculus Rift, Kinect motion sensor and Myo armband to create unique software for amputees.

Using the Unity engine the team has created an experience in which users can sample prosthetic limbs before committing to them. As explained on the project’s website, the current prototype includes a kitchen environment where users interact with normal objects. The Oculus Rift is used to create an immersive experience in which the user believes that they are using the prosthetic limb while Kinect tracks the user’s position and Myo registers electrical activity in muscles to simulate grabbing objects.

A recent Vine post from the official Sheffield Hallam University account, as seen below, suggests that the project might be further along than its webpage currently describes. The user can be seen with the Oculus Rift’s second development kit (DK2) displaying an outside environment. No Myo band can be seen though this is expected to be integrated later down the line according to a future roadmap.

Eventually the team hopes to finally test the software with amputees. This is just another example of how VR can be used to help improve medical care and more. VRFocus will continue to follow any and all applications of the Oculus Rift, reporting back with all the latest updates.