Task-specific virtual reality training on hemiparetic upper extremity in patients with stroke

Kenneth N.K. Fong, Yuk Ming Tang, Karen Sie, Andy K.H. Yu, Cherry C.W. Lo, Yuko W.T. Ma

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Task-specific training has been proven to be effective in promoting recovery of the hemiparetic upper extremities after a stroke. This study was to develop a task-specific VR (TS-VR) program using a leap motion controller device and the Unity3D game engine to promote recovery of the hemiparetic upper extremity in patients with stroke based on a hierarchy of seven functional tasks in the functional test for the hemiplegic upper extremity (FTHUE). The final version of the TS-VR was tested on 20 patients suffering from chronic stroke with upper-extremity hemiparesis over 2 weeks, 5 sessions per week, 30 min per session. Outcomes were assessed using the Fugl-Meyer assessment-upper extremity score (FMA-UE), the Wolf motor function test (WMFT), and the motor activity log (MAL) at the first (week 0), last (week 2), and follow-up sessions (week 5). Patients’ arm impairments were stratified into lower (levels 1–4) and higher (levels 5–7) functioning groups according to the FTHUE. Significant improvements were found after TS-VR training in FMA-UE total score and its subscores, and WFMT score among the three time occasions (p = 0.000), but no significant effect on grip strength was found. The higher-functioning group benefited more from the TS-VR, as indicated in outcome measures as well as amount of use score in MAL, but this was not the case for those in the lower-functioning group. Our findings show the TS-VR training was useful for upper-extremity recovery in patients with chronic stroke. It has potential to be applied in clinical settings in future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-464
Number of pages12
JournalVirtual Reality
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Evaluation
  • Leap motion controller
  • Rehabilitation
  • Task-specific training
  • Training stroke
  • Upper limb
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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