Pain Studies Lab’s HQP Weina Jin attended AGE-WELL’s Summer Institute

By | Awards, Events, Other News, Projects

Weina Jin, a Ph.D. student in the Pain Studies Lab, was selected amongst a competitive group of HQPs (highly qualified personnel), as 1 of 18 recipients of AGE-WELL’s 3rd Annual EPIC Summer Institute (http://agewell-nce.ca/training/summerinstitute) in Banff, Alberta from June 18 – 22, 2018. AGE-WELL is a Canada-wide research network and National Centre of Excellence (NCE).

The theme of this year’s AGE-WELL Summer Institute was “Co-Creating Possibilities: Leisure, Recreation, and Wellness – Opportunities for Engaging the Older Adult”. In this one-week project-based learning experience, multidisciplinary teams worked through a design process, from problem definition to brainstorming solutions, developing business models and knowledge mobilization plans, to successfully pitching the projects.

Weina and her team created a project to increase seniors’ engagement in a variety of activities. They designed a mobile app they named “PlayWell.” It recommends engaging activities for newly-retired populations to fight against boredom. During the development of the projects, the team received mentorship from AGE-WELL members about defining a problem definition with stakeholders, designing a business model and developing a market strategy.

Recipients of AGE-WELL’s 3rd Annual EPIC Summer Institute at Banff.

Pain Studies Lab presents AI research at IEEE GEM 2018

By | Conference Papers, Conferences, Papers, Publications

Weina Jin, a Pain Studies Lab Ph.D. student, presented her research on using machine learning to predict cybersickness at the IEEE GEM 2018 conference in Galway, Ireland on August 17, 2019.

In her 20-minute talk, Weina outlined the challenges of building predictive models for cybersickness research. To address these problems, she and her colleagues used a pure data-driven approach. They constructed a dataset for this problem, collected VR gameplay data labeled with a cybersickness core and built machine learning models. In their pilot study, results showed that their machine learning could model cybersickness in real-world VR gameplay settings. The presentation was part of Session 3.4: Deep Learning Techniques for GEM.

Their full peer-reviewed paper will appear in the IEEE GEM’s Conference Proceedings: “Automatic Prediction of Cybersickness for Virtual Reality Games” by Weina Jin, Jianyu Fan, Diane Gromala and Philippe Pasquier.

The IEEE GEM (Game, Entertainment, and Media) 2018 conference is a platform for disseminating innovative research and development work on game, entertainment, and media technologies.

Pain Studies Lab Ph.D. student Xin Tong is collaborating with a prominent pain doctor & motor control expert at Peking U. in Beijing

By | Collaborations, Lab Updates

Xin Tong, one of the lab’s Ph.D. students, is conducting her dissertation research in Peking University’s Motor Control Lab with Dr. Kunlin Wei, one of the top brain and cognition scientists in China.

Xin’s research is mainly about

  1. identifying the major factors in Virtual Reality (VR) that affect pain perception, and
  2. how to use Virtual Reality to help chronic pain patients to better manage their pain.

Her studies focus on the sense of body ownership, the sense of body agency, and the senses of controllability, movement and physical activity in VR, and how they may influence pain perception in both healthy participants as well as pain patients. Eventually, she plans to apply those research findings and scientific results to the lab’s VR.

Currently, Xin is working with pain patients who live with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), as shown in the picture below. This patient has experienced CRPS-related pain for over four years in his feet and hands. Before using the VR environment, the patient he rated his pain level as a 10 — almost always, and almost everywhere in his hands and feet. After engaging with the Pain Studies Lab’s VR title LumaPath for around 20 minutes, the patient rated his pain level to be 8, which lasts for a short period.

Although this result occurred after only one “dose” of VR, the result was significant, particularly because this patient’s pain is unrelenting. Therefore, over the next 8 to 10 weeks, Xin will follow up with a group of pain patients to measure the effects of using VR over time, and to see if those effects persist.

Pain patients with unrelenting Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) using Pain Studies Lab’s Lumapath, an immersive VR environment specifically designed for chronic pain patients. Ethics and permission to use these photos were granted.

Pain Studies Lab’s AI Research at CPS 2018

By | Collaborations, Conferences, Projects

Prof. Diane Gromala, Prof. Chris Shaw, and Weina Jin attended the Canadian Pain Society’s 39th Annual Scientific Meeting in Montreal, May 22-25, 2018.

“Automatic Pain Level Classification with Physiological Signals”
Weina Jin, Diane Gromala, Junbo Bao, Yabin Guo, Tianpeio Shen, Oliver Schulte.

Weina Jin presented results from her research study using deep learning to automatically recognize pain levels from physiological signals. This approach may help to better infer pain from patients who cannot express their pain verbally, such as infants, patients under anesthesia, or patients with dementia.

“Towards a Canadian National Pain Strategy: What We Can Learn from the Aussies.”
Dr. Owen Williamson

An esteemed collaborator with the Pain Studies Lab, Dr. Owen Williamson, FRCSC & President of Pain Physicians of BC Society, presented a talk entitled “Towards a Canadian National Pain Strategy: What We Can Learn from the Aussies.”

The Canadian Pain Society’s 39th Annual Scientific Meeting promotes competency-based education and advocates on behalf of patients with acute and chronic pain by bringing together basic scientists and health professionals who are interested in pain research and management.

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

By | Awards, Collaborations, Lab Updates

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

By | Awards, Collaborations, Conferences

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: https://www.sfu.ca/sfunews/stories/2017/10/research-team-lands-best-pitch-at-stanfords-vr-brainstorm-lab.html

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.

Undergrad Researcher Kathryn Cruz presents at 1st Annual SFU Research Journal Poster Competition

By | Other News

Kathryn Cruz is working in a team comprised of Pain Studies Lab and University of British Columbia researchers to supplement research in virtual reality for chronic pain patients.

The research poster, titled “Exploring Virtual Reality Preferences in Chronic Pain Patients: Game Controllers, Genres, and VR Experiences” was well-received at the competition. Cruz received special thanks as the first representative of the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) that submitted to SFU’s Student Undergraduate Research Journal.

This SFU SURJ event aims to promote undergraduate research by providing young scientists exposure and recognition for their work by undergoing a peer-review process. Organizers hope to foster a community of undergraduates who value research while engaging all students in science communication and education.

Photograph: Kathryn Cruz at the 1ST Annual Simon Fraser University Student Undergraduate Research Journal Poster Competition on September 24, 2017.

At the Pain Studies Lab, ACADEMICA.CA demos VR for Managing Chronic Pain

By | Lab Updates, Other News

© copyright SFU Pain Studies Lab; Photo: Weina Jin

Academica.ca visited SFU’s Pain Studies Lab on September 26th to interview VR pioneer Dr. Diane Gromala. She discussed the VR systems that she has been designing, building, testing and deploying at pain clinics and hospitals since the 1990s, primarily for people who live with long-term chronic pain.

Dr. Gromala also shared the scientific data that validates that her VR system is an effective form of non-pharmacological pain control, as well as future work aimed at aging populations, adults and teens who are undergoing chemotherapy and for adults who are recovering from addiction. Serkan Pekcetin ran the VR demonstration while Academica.ca’s camera rolled.

Dr. Farzan, Dr. Gromala & Dr. Moreno: Finalists in the Innovation Lab @ Stanford

By | Conferences, Lab Updates, Other News

3rd Annual Innovations in Psychiatry and Behavioral Health: Virtual Reality and Behavior Change conference, Stanford University, School of Medicine, October 6-7.

Dr. Faranak Farzan, Dr. Diane Gromala and Dr. Sylvain Moreno were named one of five finalists in the Innovation Lab, a “shark tank” style competition for innovative ideas using VR in mental health domains. The Innovation Lab is part of the 3rd Annual Innovations in Psychiatry and Behavioral Health: Virtual Reality and Behavior Change conference at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, 6-7 October 2017.

The triumvirate’s submission in the competition was entitled VR Tracking Risk of Substance Overdose & Building Resilience.

Stay tuned for the results!