Assessing the capabilities of the HTC Vive as a tool to assess the risk of falling in older people
Falls affect 1 in 3 seniors every year. This can lead to traumatic brain injuries, fractures, and even death. Being able to identify those at risk is imperative. In the past few years, game technologies such as the Xbox Kinect, Nintendo Wii, Dance Mats, among others, have shown to be very effective in discriminating fallers from non-fallers. In a prior study, the authors proposed a Virtual Reality-based system to assess the risk of falling in the senior community. In this paper, we explore the accuracy of this system by comparing it with a well-established fall risk assessment tool. More importantly, we also investigate the effects of using three different avatar visualization modes in delivering this test (top-down view, puppeteer view and first-person view). We hypothesized that: (1) the VR system would show high similarities to the original version of the test; and (2) altering the sense of presence of our subjects would allow them to fully immerse and concentrate on the assessment tasks resulting in more accurate diagnosis data. Results suggest that the proposed VR-based system was fairly accurate in computing the fall risk assessment test. Also, participants reported quicker reaction times in the VR system suggesting that the proposed tool offers higher levels of immersion and intuitiveness.