Anderson, F., Annett, M., Bischof, W. F., Boulanger, P. (2010). Virtual Equine Assisted Therapy, IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality, 255-256.
People with a wide spectrum of disabilities, ranging from spinal injuries to autism, have benefitted from equine assisted therapy (EAT). Using EAT, therapy patients have been shown to improve both physically and psychologically (e.g., increased attention, motivation, and communication skills). There are still many open questions regarding this therapy and the reasons for its success. Many of these questions have remained unanswered due in large part to the uncontrolled nature of EAT. The Virtual Equine Assisted Therapy (VEAT) Project integrates a robotic platform with Virtual Reality (VR) technologies to provide a controlled environment through which various aspects of EAT can be isolated and studied. The system incorporates realistic equine motions with visual, auditory, olfactory, and somatosensory stimuli to provide a highly immersive, safe experience to patients.
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