Monthly Archives: December 2020

Adapting to the Pandemic Context

This year has been quite demanding in terms of adapting to new circumstances. However, it’s also been a circumstance that has seen many people adopt new technologies, from teleconference to XR apps. Here are a few interesting new XR for health applications that have been aimed at addressing pandemic-related challenges:

The Rehabilitation Robotics Lab at the University of Alberta has created an AR app to help Canadians manage mental health during COVID-19.

Virtual training applications for healthcare workers has also seen an upsurge. Here’s an example from SFU SIAT. Another has been created by Motive for PPE donning and doffing.

Certainly, there has been a new wave of papers advocating for the benefits of augmented and virtual reality applications in health during the pandemic.

Could Virtual Reality play a role in the rehabilitation after COVID-19 infection?

Telemedicine and Virtual Reality for Cognitive Rehabilitation: A Roadmap for the COVID-19 Pandemic

Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Video Games for Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health

Perhaps the widespread need to adapt with digital tools in lieu of regular in-person practice during this time will accelerate future development and adoption of a whole ecosystem of health-related XR applications.

Update on Electroencephalography (EEG) Sub-study

We wanted to provide an update to all blog readers on the progress of our study.

Over the summer, we have finished conducting the analysis for a pilot study on the effect of VR-guided meditation on brain waves using the electroencephalograph (EEG). Our main objective in this sub-study is explore if VR-guided meditation exposure has any specifically identifiable characteristics on the neurological activity in the brain through an EEG scan. We enrolled ten participants who had positive experience as a part of the VR arm of the main clinical trial. Participants undertook an EEG brainwave scan, whilst undertaking a VR experience in their home under the supervision of a trained research assistant.

We partnered with Dr. Teresa Cheung, a physicist and medical imaging scientist, from the Simon Fraser University’s ImageTech lab, for this portion of the study. As this was the first use of EEG recording with patients using VR for pain management, this required the use of novel experimental and analytical approaches, as well as a significant amount of data cleaning and pre-processing prior to analysis, and the use of multiple statistical analytics.

The study data analysis has now concluded and we have finalized a paper for publication in November, 2020. Once this study is published, we will share our findings of the published paper on our blog. We hope you will look forward to reading this paper once it is in the press!