Literature shows an increasing interest for the development of augmented reality (AR) applications in several fields, including rehabilitation. Current studies show the need for new rehabilitation tools for upper extremity, since traditional interventions are less effective than in other body regions. This review aims at: Studying to what extent AR applications are used in shoulder rehabilitation, examining wearable/non-wearable technologies employed, and investigating the evidence supporting AR effectiveness. Nine AR systems were identified and analyzed in terms of: Tracking methods, visualization technologies, integrated feedback, rehabilitation setting, and clinical evaluation. Our findings show that all these systems utilize vision-based registration, mainly with wearable marker-based tracking, and spatial displays. No system uses head-mounted displays, and only one system (11%) integrates a wearable interface (for tactile feedback). Three systems (33%) provide only visual feedback; 66% present visual-audio feedback, and only 33% of these provide visual-audio feedback, 22% visual-audio with biofeedback, and 11% visual-audio with haptic feedback. Moreover, several systems (44%) are designed primarily for home settings. Three systems (33%) have been successfully evaluated in clinical trials with more than 10 patients, showing advantages over traditional rehabilitation methods. Further clinical studies are needed to generalize the obtained findings, supporting the effectiveness of the AR applications.
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