We were excited to showcase our new game, WordPlay VR, during last week's GamePipe Showcase at USC. Wordplay VR was developed by students in CSCI 572: Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed reality in collaboration with the Locomotor Control Lab, Prof. Beth Fisher in the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, Prof. Marientina Gotsis in the School of Cinematic Arts, and Vangelis Lympouridis, Ph.D. in the Viterbi School of Engineering.
The objective of WordPlay VR is to complete a set of word puzzles by physically moving through a 3D virtual environment, finding the letters needed to solve the puzzle, and placing them in the correct target location. This experience was designed as part of an NIH-funded project whose objective is to use develop a low-cost, interactive training application to improve mobility in people with Parkinson’s disease. Two of the most exciting features of our system is that it can be used in a fully wireless mode and includes a tablet-based interface through which therapists can tailor the features of the training environment to the needs of the patient.
This game is the culmination of a user-centered design process that began with IML 543: Transdisciplinary Media Design Practicum, directed by Prof. Marientina Gotsis, and involved people living with Parkinson’s disease and a number of contributing faculty from Cinematic Arts, the School of Engineering, and the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy. We would like to thank the team from CSCI 572, which included Vyas Babu, Rahul Lele, Abhishek Pandy, Arpit Sharma, and Harmeet Singh for all of their hard work and commitment to the project. Music and sound design were done courtesy of Aaron Reihs. We would also like to thank our funding sources; the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development under award number R21HD088342, the Bridge Institute Art + Science Alliance, and the USC Undergraduate Research Associates Program. Lastly, we would like to thank the directors of CSCI 572, Prof. Michael Zyda and Vangelis Lympouridis, Ph.D., for supporting our vision and providing a venue through which we could introduce students to health-related applications of VR.
This project is one of many ongoing developments at USC to use virtual and augmented reality for health-related applications. Over the past year, we have been working to build a cohesive community of researchers in this area through the USC SensoriMotor Assessment and Rehabilitation Training in Virtual Reality Center (SMART-VR Center). Our inaugural symposium this fall had over 100 attendees and we expect it to be even larger next year as we expand our network of researchers, developers, and clinicians.
Our most recent study examining how the voluntary reduction of step length asymmetry affects the metabolic cost of walking post-stroke is now in press at Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair. Congrats to Dr. Sanchez for a double publication week!
New work from our own PhD student Chang Liu on the relationship between spatiotemporal asymmetry and stability during walking. She was also awarded a De Luca travel award to attend World Congress of Biomechanics to present a follow-up to this study. Way to go!
Please join us in congratulating lab member Aram Kim for being awarded a Link Foundation fellowship and winning 1st place at the Dentistry Research Day for her work on learning and generalization of locomotor skills in VR. It's been an exciting couple of weeks in the lab!
Her new paper exploring the role of visual information about the lower extremities on visuomotor coordination during virtual obstacle negotiation just got published as well!
Join us tomorrow at noon in the Sullivan Center (CHP 157) to learn about Aram's dissertation plans to examine neural correlates of locomotor skill learning.
On Thursday, November 30th, Sungwoo Park defended his dissertation proposal and became our lab's first official Ph.D. candidate. Congratulations Sungwoo!
This past Saturday, Dr. Finley shared some of our recent work on the costs of asymmetry during healthy and hemiparetic walking with attendees at the Orange County Stroke Rehab Network's Annual Research Workshop.
Today we welcomed a group of visitors from the American Heart Association to the lab. We first explained how we use motion capture and other tools to analyze locomotor learning and then, our colleagues from the Neural Plasticity and Neurorehabilitation Lab performed an interactive demonstration of one of the brain-computer interfaces that they are developing for people post-stroke.
Three of our lab members will be presenting posters at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. this year.
On Saturday from 1-5 pm at poster EE25, Dr. Finley will be sharing recent work on the energetic consequences of reducing step length asymmetry in people post-stroke. On Monday from 1-5 pm at posters NN13 and NN14, Aram Kim will present her work on learning and generalization of locomotor skills in virtual environments, and Sungwoo Park will present recent results on the regulation of dynamic balance during locomotor adaptation.
A new study from our group characterizing the biases introduced by the use of simplified center of estimates during walking and turning was recently published in Gait and Posture.
K.L. Havens, T. Mukherjee, J.M. Finley. (2018). Analysis of Biases in Dynamic Margins of Stability Introduced by the Use of Simplified Center of Mass Estimates during Walking and Turning. Gait and Posture. 59, 162-167.