Research team lands “best pitch” at Stanford’s VR Brainstorm Lab

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Dr. Faranak Farzan, Dr. Sylvain Moreno and Dr. Diane Gromala, who are studying how Virtual Reality (VR) can help people recover from addiction, were presented the judges’ grand prize at Stanford University’s Brainstorm VR/AR Innovation Lab October 6-7, 2017.

The SFU Research team have combined their expertise across the disciplines of engineering, neuroscience, wearable technology, and health technology innovations to address the issue of addiction recovery.

They were among six teams invited to pitch at the Shark-Tank-like event after being shortlisted from more than 30 entries. They were awarded the grand prize, as voted by judges from diverse backgrounds encompassing medicine, business and technology innovation.

Stanford, recently named for the third year the world’s most innovative university (by United Press International), held the competition as part of its annual Innovations in Psychiatry and Behavioral Health conference, on the theme of Virtual Reality and Behavior Change. The event focused on how virtual and augmented reality technologies are transforming lives, and this year focused on possibilities in mental health care.

Dr. Sylvain Moreno, Dr. Faranak Farzan and Dr. Diane Gromala

copyright 2017, SFU Pain Studies lab; Photo credit: Kathryn Cruz

Competitors at Brainstorm VR/AR Innovation Lab, part of the Innovations in Psychiatry and Behavioral Health: Virtual Reality and Behavior Change conference at Stanford University.

Dr. Diane Gromala, Dr. Faranak Farzan & Dr. Sylvain Moreno won the Judge’s Grand Prize @ Stanford’s Innovation Lab

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Dr. Diane Gromala, Dr. Faranak Farzan and Dr. Sylvain Moreno won the Judge’s Grand Prize at Stanford’s Innovation Lab @ the Innovations in Psychiatry and Behavioral Health: Virtual Reality (VR) and Behavior Change Conference. Faculty members at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, the Canadian team is exploring VR for addiction recovery in a very specific way, drawing on their combined expertise in neurotechnologies, brain science & VR.

You may read about it more in detail here:

Dr. Diane Gromala, Canada Research Chair in Computational Technologies for Transforming Pain and pioneer in VR for Chronic Pain.

Dr. Faranak Farzan, Chair in Technology Innovations for Youth Addiction Recovery and Mental Health and pioneer in Neuromodulation Technologies.

Dr. Sylvain Moreno, Head of Innovation of Neurodevnet, a Canada-wide research network and National Centre of Excellence (NCE), and Director of SFU’s Digital Health Hub.

Pain Lab Undergrad Researchers Henry Lo & Janice Ng won Surrey Top 25 under 25 Awards

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Janice Ng and Henry Lo, two of SIAT’s undergraduate students were named the “Top 25 Under 25” by Surrey’s Board of Trade on April 20th 2017. They received their awards at the 7th annual City of Surrey event which celebrated “the incredible initiatives of Surrey’s youth 25 years old or younger.”

The 25 winners were chosen for their business or community achievements, leadership ability, community involvement, professional achievements and uniqueness of their business or community projects.

Janice & Henry worked with Prof. Gromala and BC Children’s Hospital chief oncologist Dr. Caron Strahlendorf to create, build & test a pain distraction VR game (Farmooo) for teens undergoing chemotherapy. They are now working to install and sustain it at Surrey Memorial Hospital.

The research from Farmooo will also be featured as a “Hot Topic” at the Canadian Pain Society’s (CPS) Annual Scientific Conference in Halifax in May.

         Figure 1. Farmooo VR Game Title Screenshot

Figure 2. Henry in Head-Mounted Display testing Farmooo

Figure 3. Surrey Top 25 under 25 Award Ceremony (Janice Ng and Henry Lo)

Mark Nazemi wins best paper award

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Congratulations to Pain Lab researcher Mark Nazemi, who received the best paper award at Artech 2012, held in Faro, Portugal in November 2012. Nazemi won the award for Analgesic Music Composition for Management of Chronic Pain, which was co-written by Diane Gromala. Publication details: Proceedings of 6th International Conference on Digital Arts, Artech 2012. Faro, Portugal, 35-42.

Gromala receives NSERC grant for VR research

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Transforming Pain Research Group director Dr. Diane Gromala has been awarded a National Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) grant for research into VR Systems for Body Image and Body Schema.

With the grant, the pain lab has now received research recognition and support from all of Canadas major grant-awarding bodies NSERC, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) and the National Research Council (NRC).