Category Archive: Our News

Feb 10

Body Image / Body Schema: Collaborating with the Best

The Pain Studies Lab holds numerous and regular meetings with our expert collaborators. During this visit, PhD students Serkan Pekcetin and Servet Ulas brainstormed with Dr. Diane Gromala and pain expert Dr. Owen Williamson about strategies concerning immersive virtual reality (VR)
and body image/body schema. Research has shown that some chronic pain patients have “body dysmorphia.” For example, a painful limb may feel larger than it really is, or unconscious “guarding” of painful areas may relate to a patient’s need for more interpersonal space when they
interact with others. Dr. Gromala’s NSERC Discovery Grant and Canada Research Chair are enabling Pain Studies Lab’s researchers to examine this phenomenon and to invent technological interventions that may help patients in clinical or home settings.

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@2017 SFU Pain Studies Lab
photo by Sungmin Park

Feb 09

Movement Futures Workshop

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Dr. Diane Gromala and PhD student Servet Ulas participated in Movement Futures, 
a workshop headed by SIAT’s Director, Dr. Thecla Schiphorst. Building on Dr. Schiphorst’s 
successful SSHRC-funded MOVING STORIES research, this 
workshop brought together experts from Canada, the U.S., France, Australia and elsewhere. 
Over 3 days, they developed strategies that focused on how to transfer and enact the 
knowledge expertise developed by Moving Stories researchers.

Nov 10

Michael Bidu visits PainLab

Michael Bidu, CEO of Interface Health Society and organizer of the annual
INTERFACE HEALTH SUMMIT  visited the Pain Studies Lab
on October 20th. He met with SFU’s Dr. Chris Shaw, Assoc. Director of SIAT
(School of Interactive Arts & Technology) and Dr. Gromala, Pain Studies Lab and
Chronic Pain Research Institute’s founding director. The triumvirate discussed ideas
for catalyzing the quickly growing area of health and technology in the greater
Vancouver region.
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photos: © 2016, SFU’s Pain Studies Lab           photographer Sungmin Park

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photos: © 2016, SFU’s Pain Studies Lab          photographer Sungmin Park

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 08

Pain Lab @ IASP World Congress on Pain 2016, Japan

Dr. Chris Shaw and Dr. Diane Gromala at the Yokohama Convention Center, site of the 16th World Congress on Pain.

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The Pain Studies Lab members presented two posters at the IASP’s (International Association for the Study of Pain’s) 16th World Congress on Pain in Yokohama, Japan on September 27th and 30th.
The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) is an international learned society promoting research, education, and policies for the knowledge and management of pain. The IASP was founded in 1973 and publishes the scientific journal Pain. Currently, the IASP has more than 7,900 members from 133 countries.

More than 4,400 health professionals, researchers, and practitioners participated in this year’s plenary sessions, workshops, and poster sessions that define the cutting edge of pain research and treatment.

Lab Founder Dr. Diane Gromala presented Two Paradigms of Designing Virtual Reality for Chronic Pain Patients: Pain Self-Modulation vs. Pain Distraction. This poster introduced two paradigms we have investigated that may help Chronic Pain (CP) patients better self-manage their pain through Virtual Reality (VR) technology: pain distraction and what Dr. Gromala terms “pain self-modulation.” Two immersive VR environments, each of which represents a paradigm, were designed, built and tested in the Pain Studies Lab: Virtual Meditative Walk and Möbius Floe.
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Citation: Two Paradigms of Designing Virtual Reality for Chronic Pain Patients: Pain Self-Modulation vs. Pain Distraction. Xin Tong, Diane Gromala, Weina Jin, Pam Squire. 16th World Congress on Pain in Yokohama, Japan.

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Dr. Chris Shaw presented AS IF, a serious game designed by Pain Studies Lab members Weina Jin, Xin Tong and Servet Ulas. The goal of this game is to foster the empathy and understanding towards chronic pain patients’ situations. AS IF simulates the bodily motion limitations of a chronic pain patient and displays pain visualizations on a player’s avatar, that is, their virtual body.

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Citation: AS IF: an Empathy Game for Chronic Pain. Weina Jin, Servet Ulas, Xin Tong, Dr. Diane Gromala, Dr. Chris Shaw.16th World Congress on Pain in Yokohama, Japan.

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Sep 21

Pain Lab’s Students Present Five Posters in PainWeek 2016

PAINWeek is the largest pain conference in US for frontline clinicians with an interest in pain management. This year the conference was held during September 6-10 in Las Vegas, NV, USA. Pain Studies Lab members–Ashfaq Amin and Frederico Machuca presented five posters in the conference. The general themes of the posters were Virtual Reality, Pain, Depression and Empathy.

Ashfaq Amin presented in PainWeek 2016

Ashfaq Amin presented in PainWeek 2016

Frederico Machuca in PainWeek 2016

Frederico Machuca in PainWeek 2016

The five posters that got accepted in this conference are:

1. “Two Paradigms of Designing Virtual Reality for Chronic Pain Patients:
Pain Self-Modulation vs. Pain Distraction
“, Xin Tong, Diane Gromala, Ashfaq Amin, Weina Jin, Pam Squire(MD).

2. “Comparison of Immersion in Cardboard VR and Oculus Rift for Playing a Pain Management Game“, Ashfaq Amin, Diane Gromala.

3. “ AS IF: gaining understanding and empathy through an interactive system“, Weina Jin, Xin Tong, Servet Ulas, Frederico Machuca, Diane Gromala

4. “Using Virtual Reality Game for Chronic Pain Management A Randomized Clinical Study“, Weina Jin, Amber Choo, Ashfaq Amin, Diane Gromala, Chris Shaw.

5. “Serious Game for Serious Disease: Diminishing Stigma of Depression via Game Experience“, Weina Jin, Diane Gromala, Frederico Machuca.

Sep 20

Pain Lab Hosts Collaborators for a Participatory Design Visit

During their visit to the Pain Studies Lab, Dr. Owen Williamson, Clinical Kinesiologist Jordan Smith, and Clinical Kinesiologist Daehan Kim courteously shared their expertise and knowledge in their fields with the members of the lab. They also provided invaluable input by providing their acknowledgement about the role of Virtual Reality for helping people who are in pain. After a thorough assessment about the shortcomings of off-the-shelf Virtual Reality experiences; a brainstorming session is held in order to come up with pertinent design paradigms regarding Virtual Reality applications which are aimed at specific medical conditions.

photos: © 2016, SFU’s Pain Studies Lab                                  photographer Sungmin Park

photos: © 2016, SFU’s Pain Studies Lab photographer Sungmin Park

 

Dr Owen Williamson is an orthopaedic spine surgeon and specialist pain medicine physician.
Jordan Smith is a Clinical Kinesiologist and Trainer with a specialization in pain management.
Daehan Kim is a Researcher, Clinical Kinesiologist and Trainer who is currently working at Essential Kinetics.

photos: © 2016, SFU’s Pain Studies Lab                                                                                            photographer Sungmin Park

photos: © 2016, SFU’s Pain Studies Lab photographer Sungmin Park

Frederico (left), Serkan (middle) and Jordan Smith (right) while they are in exchange of ideas.

Frederico (left), Serkan (middle) and Jordan Smith (right) while they are in exchange of ideas.

Aug 30

Xin Tong: the Pain Lab’s Unity Certified Developer

Pain Lab Ph.D. student Xin Tong recently earned formal certification as a Unity Developer. She sat Unity’s Certified Developer Exam on August 13th at the Centre of Digital Media in Vancouver. Unity’s goal of holding such exams is to help developers validate their Unity knowledge and skills.

The Unity Certified Developer Exam covers foundational skills for video game development with Unity, has 100 questions spanning 16 areas of competency, and is intended to evaluate knowledge for a comprehensive understanding of the game production process.

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Jul 17

Diane Gromala presents at Canadian Pain Society 2016 Meeting

Prof. Diane Gromala, PhD, presented “Is VR Useful for Pain Management? Challenges” at the Canadian Pain Society’s (CPS) Annual Scientific Meeting on May 27, 2016. The conference was held this year in Vancouver.

The Panel “Virtual Reality and Pain: A New Frontier or Smoke and Mirrors?” was chaired by Dr. Jeffrey Gold, a doctor at UCLA who specializes in paediatric pain, and Dr. Bernie Garrett from UBC’s School of Nursing who works with VR for chronic pain. The panelists discussed the historical and recent advances in the use of VR to alleviate and manage acute and chronic pain. 

Gromala is the Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Computational Technologies for Transforming pain, and is the Founding Director of the Chronic Pain Research Institute at SFU. Dr. Gromala began her exploration of VR and pain in 1991, the earliest days of VR. She has worked since that time on VR, focussing on chronic pain with her collaborators and students at the Pain Studies Lab at SFU in Surrey. 

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Photograph : Prof. Diane Gromala, PhD, at the Canadian Pain Society’s (CPS) Annual Scientific Meeting on May 27, 2016 in Vancouver.

Jul 17

New virtual reality game Farmooo to help young cancer patients

SFU students Henry Lo and Janice Ng have developed a new virtual reality game called Farmooo. Farmooo serves as a pain management tool for young cancer patients undergoing treatment. Professor Diane Gromala from the Pain Studies Lab is the pair’s supervisor. Gromala’s research works at the confluence of computer science, media art and design, and has focused on the cultural, visceral, and embodied implications of digital technologies, particularly in the realm of chronic pain.

Read the full story at: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-05-virtual-farm-game-young-cancer.html
Photograph courtesy: Medicalxpress.com, May 20, 2016

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Jun 08

Xin Tong and Ankit Gupta published an article about gamification and physical activity promotion on Transactions on Pervasive Health 2016.

Pain Lab Ph.D. student Xin Tong and BioV Visualization Lab Ph.D. student Ankit Gupta’s research about gamification, motivation and physical activity –”Examining the Efficiency of Gamification Incentives for Encouraging Physical Activity – Social Collaborations or Interactive Mobile Games?” was presented at the 10th EAI International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare (http://pervasivehealth.org/2016/show/home). In May 2016, in Cancun Mexico. The article was subsequently published in EAI Transactions on Pervasive Health and Technology (impact factor 1.19).

This study found out that the social interaction strategy was the most effective intervention among these three. Contrary to prior research, goal-setting was not found to be as effective at providing motivation compared to social interaction. Although FitPet failed to promote significantly higher levels of physical activity, participants enjoyed this approach and provided design insights for future research: implementing social components and more challenging gameplay (as shown in the Figure below).

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Examining the Efficiency of Gamification Incentives for Encouraging Physical Activity – Social Collaborations or Interactive Mobile Games? Xin Tong, Ankit Gupta, Diane Gromala, Chris Shaw, Carman Neustaedter. 10th EAI International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare (Pervasive Health), May 2016.

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