According to the Spokesman-Review, the simulator, the first of its kind in the area, will help patients regain basic driving skills. It gives patients an interactive, realistic experience to prepare them to be behind the wheel again following spinal and other injuries and illnesses that reduce mobility.
The simulator has a driver’s wheel and other hand controls and foot pedals. The road is three video screens that can show 80 different road scenarios, such as pedestrians crossing the street, a traffic light changing or a vehicle moving slowly. The scenarios test and train for vehicle control, reaction time, attention to the road, memory, planning and navigation and hazard perception. This allows patients to practice without the pressure of real traffic.
The simulator can also be used for research on how different injuries or illnesses can affect driving.
Grants for the $80,000 machine came from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, Empire Health Foundation and Providence Health Care Foundation.