The Military Advanced Training Center (MATC), completed at Walter Reed Army Hospital (Washington, D.C.) in September 2007, offers new state-of-the-art rehabilitation and research equipment. Perhaps most remarkably, a high-tech, computer-assisted rehabilitation environment (CAREN) system is one of only two in the United States. Using virtual reality, CAREN immerses service members in real-world scenarios to help them heal, practice, and train. The patient, harnessed in a standing position on a multi-axis platform, faces images projected onto a curved screen for three-dimensional, realistic effect. Movement of the platform is synchronized with the screen projection, while CAREN uses cameras to record the patient's movements. These data help with rehabilitation, patient feedback, and research. Prosthetists work closely with physical and occupational therapists in the clinical care area.
A Healing Virtual Reality World
The new training center at Walter Reed is a major step forward in the rehabilitation of men and women who have lost limbs or are otherwise disabled.
By Captain Joseph A. Miller, MSC, U.S. Army Reserve, and Colonel Charles Scoville, U.S. Army (Retired)