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Swiss startup MindMaze, which raised $100 million in funding, has launched its MindMaze Pro virtual reality treatment for stroke recovery patients in the U.S.

The launch shows that VR is for more than just games, as it stands at the intersection of neuroscience and entertainment. The launch is the latest example of how VR is spreading far beyond games and entertainment. And that’s important, as consumer VR sales have been slower than expected.

Based on a decade of research and testing for “neuro VR,” the MindMaze Pro is an upper-limb neurorehabilitation platform that uses proprietary 3D motion-tracking cameras to help patients recovering from traumatic injuries and those suffering from acute and chronic strokes.

MindMaze introduced MindMotion Pro to the European market in 2013, and hundreds of patients have used the platform for the rehabilitation therapy.

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Lausanne, Switzerland-based MindMaze already delivered a thought-powered virtual reality, augmented reality, and motion capture game system in MindLeap. The company, whose board includes some of the world’s leading doctors and neuroscientists, will be applying its multisensory computing platform to numerous new fields, which include robotics and transportation.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted MindMaze 510(k) clearance. Mindmaze also said that it has completed 261 patient trials of MindMotion Go, a portable neurotechnology device that uses VR to continue therapy after a patient leaves the hospital. Those trials were conducted in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Switzerland.

Above: MindMaze Pro is approved for use in the U.S. and European markets.

Image Credit: MindMaze

MindMaze CEO Tej Tadi, a doctor, started the company in 2012.

Each year in the U.S., about 800,000 people suffer a stroke, resulting in debilitating health effects as well as direct and indirect losses of economic activity of $65 billion according to research published in The American Journal of Managed Care.

MindMotion Pro works by mapping a patient’s movements onto 3D avatars in customized interactive exercises that are based on standardized neurorehabilitation principles of upper limb rehabilitation and cognitive paradigms. By doing so, it reactivates damaged neural pathways and activates new ones.

MindMaze’s technology is specifically designed to help stroke patients and those with traumatic brain injuries start recovery early and continue it for maximum gains.

MindMotion Pro uses VR games to keep patients engaged with therapies for recovery. It has custom tracking technology that gives real-time and accurate patient tracking in both bedside and wheelchair uses. It also helps the therapist in supporting the patient during the activities.

Above: MindMaze engages stroke victims with games.

Image Credit: MindMaze

“Our work at the forefront of neuroscience and virtual reality allows patients to recover faster and return more fully to the life they lived before injury,” said Tadi in a statement. “Over the last decade, we’ve honed this therapy to be cost-effective for both patients and healthcare providers.”

Due to the motivating effects of the virtual-reality based games, patients can engage in 10 to 15 times more exercising repetitions than with standard rehabilitation programs, and because the system offers real-time multisensory feedback, therapists can assess progress and tailor therapy to patient performance.

Research from the leading rehabilitation facility Clinique Romande de Réadaptation/EPFL in Sion, Switzerland, found that 90 percent of chronic stroke patients using MindMotion Pro reported heightened motivation to perform rehab, increased the potential for motor function recovery and that their training intensity doubled within the first 10 sessions of using the platform. Additionally, Lausanne University Hospital-CHUV reported 100 percent of patients forgot they were in a hospital.

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