A group of neuroengineers led by Michelle LaPlaca have developed a virtual-reality test for psychological impairments caused by head injury.
The system called DETECT (‘display enhanced testing for concussions and mild traumatic brain injury’) is designed to pick-up subtle cognitive problems that can accompany blows to the head.
Such problems are often difficult to detect at first, but can be important medical pointers to more significant or longer lasting impairments.
The VR system presents a number of neuropsychological tests that seem like simplified video games, but record accuracy and reaction time scores, that allow memory and visual perception to be assessed.
Crucially, it only takes 7 minutes, whereas traditional testing could take several hours, and because of the immersive nature of VR, it might be possible to use it in noisy environments, such as emergency rooms, sports fields or even battlefields.
Link to New Scientist story on DETECT.
Link to details from Georgia Tech University website.
PDF of research summary.