VR4REHAB - Virtual Reality for Rehabilitation

Project Summary

VR4Rehab in a nutshell

The VR4Rehab project specifically focuses on enabling the co-creation of Virtual Reality-based rehabilitation tools. By identifying and combining forces from SMEs active in the field of VR, Research Institute, clinics and patients VR4Rehab aims at creating a network in which the state-of-the-art VR-technology could meet the rehabilitation potential and thus answer to the needs of patients and of their therapists.

VR can help optimizing rehabilitation protocols, accelerating patients’ recovery, promoting treatment adherence and easing reintegration into daily life. VR4Rehab particularly addresses the rehabilitation of children affected by chronic diseases and disability, as well as adults stricken with fatigue and pain, providing them with challenging VR interventions.

Although VR technologies are widely diffused in several industries (gaming, training, etc.), there are not – up-to-now – tools specifically designed to provide lay persons with an environment that enables them and their therapists to safely extend rehabilitation extramurally.

VR4Rehab strategy: from ideas to applications

VR4Rehab aims are to establish an open, permanent co-creation platform for knowledge exchange and collaboration between SMEs and medical experts and to realize the innovation potential that emerges from the intersection of VR-technologies and the demand from rehabilitation clinics’ specialists and patients for modern protocols for musculoskeletal rehabilitation, by bringing together the relevant stakeholders and actively supporting their co-creation of VR-based rehabilitation tools.

The project foresees the organization of five hackathons (one per participation country), which could gather the expertise of entrepreneurs, patients, rehabilitation personnel and technical specialists; from each hackathon a long list of ideas concerning rehabilitation with VR will emerge. Game jams will deliver a short list of most favourable and feasible ideas, of which 5-6 ideas will be realized as a pilot and accompanied with strategic recommendations for implementation, as a result of the co-creation platform to be established permanently.

Project Partners

Lead partner

Organisation Contact name Address Email Website
Sint Maartenskliniek Remco Hoogendijk 3 Hengstdal
6574 NA
VR4REHAB@maartenskliniek.nl www.maartenskliniek.nl
Name Contact Name Email Country
European Association of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Marco Sacco marco.sacco@itia.cnr.it Belgium
St. Mauritius Therapieklinik Kristina Müller mueller@stmtk.de Germany
Teesside University Denis Martin d.martin@tees.ac.uk United Kingdom
Royal Free London NHS Trust Dido Green dido.green@nhs.net United Kingdom
Université de Lille 1 - Sciences et Technologies Laurent Grisoni laurent.grisoni@univ-lille1.fr France
Games for Health Europe Rene Luigies rene@gfheu.org Netherlands


VR4Rehab is composed of 6 work packages (WPs) each of which is dedicated to a specific goal.

Long Term WP

This WP provides the online library of the ideas and concepts generated during the hackathons and game jams, together with information about the state-of-the-art of VR technologies related to rehabilitation. The final result of this WP constitutes the VR4Rehab co-creation platform and its business plan.

Communication WP

Dissemination and communication of news, events – hackathons, game jams, conferences and other relevant meetups – and project results is one of the key for the successful implementation of VR4Rehab innovation process.  

Management WP

Brain of the whole VR4Rehab project, this WP ensures the coordination among the partners, risks mitigation and financial reporting.


The goal of this WP is the organization of the five hackathons in the different countries (Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France and United Kingdom). The WP defines the main themes of the competition and the participation modalities and provides support to the organization of the hackathons.

Game Jams

The ideas generated in the hackathons take the first steps towards VR-based technology. Each game jam is based on one of the hackathons’ themes and foresees the development of the ideas into application, thanks to the partners’ technological expertise.


Together with SMEs, the prototypes developed during the game jams undergo a phase of technical development and trial with clinical partners, who provide medical requirements. VR games can then be tested in clinics and evaluated in pilot studies.


The core of VR4Rehab project consists in 5 hackathons to be organized in five different countries of North-West Europe – Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany and France.

Hackathons’ main purpose is to generate ideas about how to tackle the hurdles of five themes related to rehabilitation with VR technologies. Participants, SMEs, rehabilitation clinics, patients and universities cooperate in the co-creation of innovative ideas about how Virtual Reality could help solving the problems defined by the rehabilitation clinics’ experts.

Hackathons five themes

The hackathons are driven by five main clinical themes:

   1. Pain management

   2. Engagement and immersion to promote treatment adherence

   3. Behavioural and cognitive training in children with brain injury

   4. Lower limbs and mobility

   5. Training of upper limb movements

Participation modalities

How is it possible to take part to hackathons? Who can participate? Each hackathon has its own dedicated webpage, specifying the participation modalities, the venues and dates of the event.

VR4Rehab Hackathons are scheduled as follows:

Who evaluates Hackathons’ ideas?

The ideas generating from each hackathon will be evaluated by a panel of experts in the related fields. The jury encompass individuals with expertise in the field of the rehabilitation, entrepreneurs, specialists in the use and in the deployment of VR technologies, patients and end-users of rehab solutions.

The panel will provide an unbiased evaluation on the feasibility of the ideas, their impact and their innovation reach; selected ideas – at least, one per theme, i.e. 5 or 6 from each hackathon – will be further elaborated and developed in their initial form within the Game Jams.

The best ideas generated during the Hackathons enter in a phase of development: the aim of Game jams is to develop VR technology-based concepts building on the ideas emerged in the five hackathons. Each Game jam will be focused on one of the five themes and hold in the clinics whose main expertise is addressed by each specific topic.

  1. Pain management
  2. Engagement and immersion to promote treatment adherence
  3. Behavioural and cognitive training in children with brain injury
  4. Lower limbs and mobility
  5. Training of upper limbs

The contestants who won the hackathon will be invited to participate to Game jams and, if necessary, they will be provided with additional partners to set up teams able to cover the different disciplines needed for developing the concepts (entrepreneurs, programmers, designers, technicians,patients, clinical personnel etc.).

The participating groups will further elaborate the concept, delve into the theme and its related problems, identify the most suitable technologies to support the development, with the support of VR4Rehab clinical project partners. Thanks to the contribution of a Mobile Support Team – composed of Games for Health Europe, EuroVR Association and University of Lille members –developers will have the chance to actually realize their ideas into applications, starting from the selection of the best perception and interaction technologies, of the game engine, till the implementation of the first prototype.

Game jams will also provide the chance to get patients’ feedback on the developed prototypes; each Game jam will end with pitches for a jury, selecting the best concept per theme. The generated concepts which are not selected will be collected and included in the digital library (WP Long Term) for use by interested parties.


- - - Stay tuned for more information on the Game jams.

Prototypes built in Game jams become real applications during the Challenges, thanks to the combined work provided by SMEs, rehabilitation clinics and universities. For each application a set of feasibility tests – evaluating the interaction between the application, patients and therapists – will be carried out in laboratories.

According to the theme addressed, developers will have the opportunity to work together with SMEs and clinical partners, acquiring specific knowledge of medical-related conditions in which the games/applications should be integrated. The result of this process will lead to novel patient treatment protocols, which will be tested with patients and clinical personnel.

The five challenges – one for each themes – also aim at introducing the new VR games into the market, taking advantage of the co-creation network built in the VR4Rehab project and SMEs interventions. The co-creation network will be also formalized as a chapter of the European Association of Virtual and Augmented Reality, with the official launch of the network during the final Project Symposium. 


- - - Stay tuned for more information on the Challenges.

VR4Rehab News

€ 2.4 million grant to develop virtual reality in rehabilitation

Posted on

The Interreg North-West Europe Programme has awarded € 2.4 million to anew European consortium,led by the SintMaartenskliniek,for a project developingvirtual reality (VR)applications for rehabilitation programs. This three-year VR4REHAB project will bring together companies, universities and rehabilitation clinics to develop and research VR applications designed to improve rehabilitation treatments and accelerate the recovery process. Read More

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