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

  • European Association of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

    98 Rue du Trone

    View partner details

  • St. Mauritius Therapieklinik - Subpartner Aachen University

    111 Strumperstrasse

    View partner details

  • Teesside University

    Borough Road
    TS1 3BA
    United Kingdom

    View partner details

  • Royal Free London NHS Trust

    Pond Street
    NW3 2QG
    United Kingdom

    View partner details

  • Université de Lille 1 - Sciences et Technologies

    Bâtiment A3 Cité Scientifique
    Villeneuve d'Ascq

    View partner details

  • Games Solutions Lab

    1 Vonderweg

    View partner details

  • Sint Maartenskliniek

    3 Hengstdal
    6574 NA

    View partner details

Lead partner

Organisation Address Email Website
Sint Maartenskliniek 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 - Subpartner Aachen University Kristina Müller. Subpartner Aachen University: Ferdinand Binkofski, Torsten W. Kuhlen 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 Solutions Lab Rene Luigies rene@gamesolutionslab.com 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 Solutions Lab, 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.


Participation modalities

Game jams are based on the hackathons’ themes and foresees the development of the ideas into workable demos.

VR4Rehab Game Jams are scheduled as follows:

Dutch Game Jams

Preparation of the Game Jams:

  • Dates: 29-30 November - 1 December 2018;

Final Game Jams:

  • Dates: 21 - 22 February 2019;


  • Location: Sint Maartenskliniek, Hengstdal 3 6574 NA Ubbergen, The Netherlands;
  • Clinical themes: Lower limbs and mobility; Training of upper limb movements.

UK Game Jams

Preparation of the Game Jams:

  • Dates: 15-16 January 2019;

Final Game Jams:

  • Dates: 26-27 March 2019;


German Game Jams

  • Dates: 1-2-3 February 2019;
  • Location: St. Mauritius Therapieklinik, 111 Strumperstrasse, Meerbusch, 40670, Germany;
  • Clinical theme: Behavioural and cognitive training in children with brain injury.

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 theme – 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. 


Next events

20-21 June 2019: Kick-off session.

After the successful Hackathons and Game Jam sessions, now is the time to get prepared for the final step: the Challenges. 

These 2 days will be a Deep Dive into the projects developed by the teams. At the end of this Kick-Off meeting, the participants will have a list of to-do’s, a take-home message, and a complete action plan to enter the Challenge phase.

Don’t miss this important meeting. Make sure you and your team attend to bring your game to the next stage. Register here.



What is the goal?

In general the main purpose of a hackathon is to quickly gather and elaborate practical ideas that can be useful for healthcare. In this specific hackathon for VR4REHAB, we look for ideas to implement virtual reality in rehabilitation treatments.

We seek to stimulate co-operation across the various disciplines involved, to create a workable solution. Ideas that wouldn’t otherwise be considered for practical applications. This is why we want to bring people together. In a few days the aim is to work out a concept. All ideas will be stored in an online database, so they will not be lost. The best ideas will be selected and will be elaborated in to a prototype during the Game Jams later on.

Who can participate?

Patients, healthcare professionals, programmers and entrepreneurs are encouraged to participate. Both students and professionals are very welcome. These groups are invited to present their ideas and create a team OR to help other teams to turn their ideas into practical solutions.

What should I bring?

Just bring your laptop and a charger. We take care of food and drink for the entire weekend.

Are there costs involved?

Participation of a hackathon for VR4REHAB is free. We take care of breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks. You are asked to be present during the entire program. If you want to stay overnights, we ask you to organize that on your own.

Do I need to have a group before the weekend starts?

You don’t need to organize an entire group before the start of the Hackathon. Teams are created on the first evening. On the contrary, we think it’s especially fun to co-operate in a team with people you haven’t met yet! The combination of people with differing backgrounds will create new and exciting perspectives.

Can I join for one day only?

Participation is only possible if you are present for the entire program. If there is no possibility for you to attend all days, but you still want to be part of the hackathon, then please contact us. You might be suitable for the role of coach or volunteer! Or to attend the team presentations on the last day.

Do I have to pitch the idea?

There is a great opportunity to present and idea and to create a team to bring your idea to life, so we certainly recommend it! You can also choose to just pitch a challenge and to figure out a way to find a solution together with the team.
However, you are not obligated to present and idea. On the first day, all ideas will be presented and you can also choose to join a presented idea or challenge as a participant!

Can I also just pitch an idea?

Yes! As long as your idea is related to VR and rehabilitation treatments. The pitch moment is planned for the first day.

What about intellectual property? Who will own my idea?

In general, the follow guidelines apply. A hackathon is an ideal place to work on ideas which you are comfortable sharing with others, but this does not mean that you must give up ownership of your idea or project. It is up to each team to decide on the ownership of any work that is done during the hackathon. Teams generally share intellectual property based on individual contributions and commitment, but project leads should establish it with their team in advance.

Some hackathon projects lead to the founding of a real company down the road, while others are released for free to the community. It is up to each project lead to decide on a structure and communicate this to the project organisation of this hackathon.

If there are pre-existing intellectual and industrial property rights which are made available to the project, these will be fully respected provided that they are notified by the project organisation of VR4REHAB  in writing.

Because the project VR4REHAB is partly financed by Interreg, the results of the project have to be made available to the general public free of charge. The project organisation of VR4REHAB will collect and share the generated ideas from the hackathons and game jams in a online library which will be available for the general public to consult.

The risks of exposing an idea are often outweighed by the benefits of the feedback and collaboration you will receive if people get excited about your vision. If you have concerns about the IP in your project, we recommend consulting a lawyer.

Are there other obligations?

The plan is that the best ideas will be elaborated in Game Jams. During these Game Jams, people will create (working) prototypes or solutions. You will compete against the best ideas from the hackathons in the other countries. De Game Jams will be held in The Netherlands, United Kingdom and Germany. If you are chosen, you have to be willing to participate in the Game Jam. Dates and locations haven’t been set yet, but they will take place at the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019.

VR4REHAB launches the 1st Congress and Call for Abstracts

We are pleased to announce the VR4REHAB From Ideas to Reality, taking place on 24 June 2021. This first edition of VR4REHAB will be exceptionally all-virtual.

The Congress

This event is not only the spectacular closing of the VR4REHAB project, funded by Interreg North West Europe, but also a new beginning. This conference aims to share research results achieved through this project in the last three years of activities in the Rehabilitation field.

Overall, this conference will provide inputs to shape VR4REHAB messages for the future, opening a public discussion on future strategies, partnerships, and cooperation actions.

Participate in the Conference, come into contact with the best professionals, expand your
network, and discover the latest VR/AR tools for the healthcare system. 

Registration is open for the 24th of June 2021. 

Discover more

Meet VR4REHAB Teams

Prototypes become real applications during the Challenges phase.
The Teams 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.

For each application, a set of feasibility tests, to evaluate the interaction between the application, patients, and therapists, will be carried out in laboratories, with the aim of introducing the new VR games into the market.



Hands Around the World

Trunky XL

Move VRee

Crystal Ball


VR Traveller 

Moving Reality

The VR4REHAB project is extended to take its innovative turn towards Virtual and Augmented Reality for Covid-19 rehabilitation.


VR4REHAB obtained a grant from Interreg North West Europe second call for capitalization.

Virtual and Augmented Reality can help optimizing rehabilitation protocols, accelerating patients’ recovery, promoting treatment adherence, and easing reintegration into daily life.

The project has created a network in which rehabilitation specialists engage with state-of-the-art XR technology to answer the rehabilitation needs of patients and their therapists. The current grant extends the previous work of VR4REHAB and will focus on innovative VR solutions for Covid-19 rehabilitation and ‘Long Covid’.

Our innovation process in a nutshell

The new project starts with a Hackathon from 17 till 21 May 2021.

The ideas generated during the Hackathon will be evaluated during the pitches on the final day.

The winning ideas will move to the Dev Jam phase in which the ideas will be worked out into concepts. This phase will last from May till August 2021.

In the Challenge phase, the three best concepts will receive financial support to turn them into innovative XR solutions for Long Covid rehabilitation.

Join us and share the innovation!

Share this

Tweet Share