Exploring the Realm of Science through Project Avatar at UNSW

UNSW Sydney Spearheads Innovative Approach to Spinal Cord Injury Recovery

In Sydney, research at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) is offering a new avenue of hope for those suffering from complete spinal cord injuries (SCI), a condition that typically means a complete loss of sensation and mobility below the injury point. However, it has been discovered that approximately 50% of people with complete SCI still have residual signals from touch reaching their brains, signals which the brain interprets as “noise” rather than touch.

Project Avatar, a collaborative initiative between UNSW Sydney’s School of Psychology and NeuRA, is looking to change the paradigm for SCI recovery by using immersive virtual reality to retrain and reconnect the brain’s perception of touch and movement. Lead researcher Professor Sylvia Gustin explains the project’s aim is to utilize the brain’s dynamic nature to recover from neurological disorders, such as SCI, by harnessing its ability to form new neural connections.

The project employs an innovative technique where a patient controls an avatar in a virtual environment and receives concurrent real-world tactile stimulation, thereby reinforcing the touch signals being sent to the brain. This dual input helps the brain relearn to recognize these signals as sensations.

James Stanley’s story is a testament to the potential of Project Avatar. After sustaining a rare form of SCI known as surfer’s myelopathy, Stanley began participating in the

Source: UNSW Sydney

LETS GET IN CONTACT

For immediate assistance, please call 855.586.2615
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.