University of Oulu

Georgiev, D.D.; Georgieva, I.; Gong, Z.; Nanjappan, V.; Georgiev, G.V. Virtual Reality for Neurorehabilitation and Cognitive Enhancement. Brain Sci. 2021, 11, 221.

Virtual reality for neurorehabilitation and cognitive enhancement

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Author: Georgiev, Danko D.1; Georgieva, Iva1; Gong, Zhengya2;
Organizations: 1Institute for Advanced Study, 9010 Varna, Bulgaria
2Center for Ubiquitous Computing, University of Oulu, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 3.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-04-19


Our access to computer-generated worlds changes the way we feel, how we think, and how we solve problems. In this review, we explore the utility of different types of virtual reality, immersive or non-immersive, for providing controllable, safe environments that enable individual training, neurorehabilitation, or even replacement of lost functions. The neurobiological effects of virtual reality on neuronal plasticity have been shown to result in increased cortical gray matter volumes, higher concentration of electroencephalographic beta-waves, and enhanced cognitive performance. Clinical application of virtual reality is aided by innovative brain–computer interfaces, which allow direct tapping into the electric activity generated by different brain cortical areas for precise voluntary control of connected robotic devices. Virtual reality is also valuable to healthy individuals as a narrative medium for redesigning their individual stories in an integrative process of self-improvement and personal development. Future upgrades of virtual reality-based technologies promise to help humans transcend the limitations of their biological bodies and augment their capacity to mold physical reality to better meet the needs of a globalized world.

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Series: Brain sciences
ISSN: 2076-3425
ISSN-E: 2076-3425
ISSN-L: 2076-3425
Volume: 11
Issue: 2
Article number: 221
DOI: 10.3390/brainsci11020221
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: This research has been partially financially supported by the European Union’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 under grant agreement No 856998, Academy of Finland 6Genesis Flagship (grant 318927), and by EDUFI Fellowship (grant TM-20-11342).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 318927
Detailed Information: 318927 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (