A revolutionary use of VR in diagnosis and treatment of spine

14 October 2020

“VRneck SOLUTION: an innovative system for diagnosis, therapy and training of functional impairment and injury of cervical spine,” a project which met with positive feedback from the National Center for Research and Development at a panel held this July, has now become the subject of a dedicated financing agreement.

As we like to share good news, we proudly announce that the consortium of the Medical University of Łódź (the Leader) and Edventure Research Lab Sp. z o.o. (a Betacom SA company) has entered into a financing agreement for the VRneck SOLUTION project with the National Center for Research and Development.

The agreement means real financial support for VRneck SOLUTION, an innovative project designed to establish a comprehensive solution which uses VR (virtual reality) and AI (artificial intelligence) to support the diagnostics and therapy planning. The project will enable monitoring the rehabilitation of patients suffering from functional impairment of upper spine caused by musculoskeletal diseases and/or injuries, Bartłomiej Antczak, CEO at Edventure Research Lab, says.

We hope that VRneck SOLUTION will empower us to solve the problems facing a large part of patients. According to studies, nearly 80% of the population visit a doctor for spine pain at least once in a lifetime; 15% experience chronic pain syndromes; and the cause of these disorders is unidentified for ca. 90% of patients. If the cause of a disorder is unknown, the treatments vary depending on the specialist consulted by the patient. In such cases, the therapy can be ineffective. The use of artificial intelligence in the diagnostic and therapeutic module will contribute to accelerating the diagnosis and to providing a more personalized treatment. In turn, the use of virtual reality will optimize the therapy*, professor Jolanta Kujawa, Head of the Rehabilitation Department and of the Medical Rehabilitation Clinic, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Medical University of Łódź, says.

The project and the co-financing are the outcome of strong, persistent and determined efforts by University Teams and the Edventure Research Lab, guided by professor Jolanta Kujawa. The project team includes Tomasz Adamczewski, doctor of medicine, co-initiator and chief researcher, physiotherapy specialist, assistant professor, head of the Laboratory of Ergonomics and Physiology of Physical Activity at the Medical Rehabilitation Clinic of the Medical University of Łódź. The scientific and research group is also composed of assistant professors and assistant lecturers at the Medical Rehabilitation Clinic, led by doctor Anna Puzder and Gabriela Figas, M.Sc. (deputy chief researcher). The team is supported by professor Agata Majos (research assistant) and Joanna Kostka, Ph.D., vice-dean for the physiotherapy major (scientific leader). The project manager is Jarosław Horodecki, M.Sc., director of the Science, Strategy and Development Office.

The Edventure Research Lab team notably includes Piotr Suchomski (Technology Area Leader), Robert Sobczyk (Chief Architect), Jacek Konczewski (Project Manager) and Bartłomiej Antczak, responsible for the solution’s commercialization strategy in Poland and in international markets.

In addition to its research dimension, the VRNeck project fits well the strategy the Betacom Group has been implementing since 2017, and is consistent with the development of services based on key AI, security and VR competences. Already at the pilot stage, the project managed to effectively find innovation at the interface between the Group’s fields of competence. As part of a consultancy procedure, there was an exchange of experiences between Betacom and Edventure Research Lab experts, on one side, and the Control System company, on the other, on how to design solutions that rely on machine learning and deep learning in reading information from images and text from medical records. I believe that in the new 2020–25 strategy perspective, the projects already in place will further strengthen the synergies and contribute to achieving new quality in solutions we offer, Bartłomiej Antczak adds.

The results of the competition launched by the National Center for Research and Development as part of the 2014–2020 Smart Development Operational Program, Measure 4.1 / Sub-Measure 4.1.4 “Applicative projects,” POIR.04.01.04-00-0113/19, were announced on July 21, 2020. The total project cost is PLN 11,876,273.56; the amount of co-financing granted is PLN 10,395,964.10.

How do the scientists from Łódź leverage virtual reality and artificial intelligence in the VRneck SOLUTION project? What are the advantages and uses of innovative solutions in diagnosis and treatment of spine? Read the paper available at wyborcza.pl*.