Asking Big Questions About Brain Injuries with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Sports Medicine Division

In collaboration with the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Division of Sports Medicine, the UCSIM | Center for Simulations & Virtual Environments Research helped develop virtual reality soccer scenarios featured in a new video explaining research being conducted with area high schools.

The long-term goal of the 5 year NIH funded study “Real-Time Sensorimotor Feedback for Injury Prevention Assessed in Virtual Reality,” (1U01AR067997-01A1) is to reduce ACL injuries in young female athletes.  This collaborative research project with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is one example of UCSIM’s commitment to help researchers solve urgent real-world problems in safe virtual spaces, unleashing the potential for scientific discovery, innovation, and creative play with immersive technologies.

To learn more about UCSIM’s work with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, see the project page in our list of Current Projects.

UCSIM Participates in CCHMC Pediatric Grand Rounds – “Virtual Reality is Changing the Healthcare Game: The State of the Art at Cincinnati Children’s”

On Tuesday, February 21, 2017, UCSIM participated in the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Pediatric Grand Rounds to showcase and demo the Sports Medicine Division’s “Real-Time Sensorimotor Feedback for Injury Prevention Assessed in Virtual Reality,” project to implement and test fully-immersive virtual reality environments to assess sport-specific training improvements.

Cincinnati Children’s has a robust group of practitioners exploring the benefits of virtual reality for clinical practice.  Watch the full video:

Speakers include:

  • Landscape of Virtual Reality – Dan McLinden, EdD, Senior Director, Learning & Development – Overview of virtual and augmented reality applications in clinical practice.
  • Virtual environments and the future of simulation – Aimee Gardner, CP. Director, Center for Simulations & Research – Highlights advances in high fidelity mannequin simulation technology mixed with virtual reality.
  • A Virtual Reality Curriculum for Pediatric Residents Decreases Rates of Influenza Vaccine Refusal – Joe Real, MD, Community & General Pediatrics – Outcomes of a study using virtual reality curriculum to train pediatric residents to talk with families about the flu shot to reduce vaccine refusal.
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality: The Future of Sport Injury Prevention and Recovery – Adam Kiefer, PhD, Asst. Professor, Division of Sport Medicine – Preliminary results of trial using wireless, room-scale VR for female athlete ACL injury prevention and overview of augmented reality application of sport injury prevention training.

UCSIM is developing interactive soccer, basketball, and volleyball scenarios for student athletes that fully integrates with the CCHMC TEAM VR lab, Motion Analysis and Cortex system, and custom HMD system.  For more information about the project, see the CCHMC TEAM VR – VIRTUAL REALITY SPORTS SCENARIOS project page.

HTC Vive demonstration

Applications Now Being Accepted for Advanced Virtual & Augmented Reality Workshop Series

Applications Now Being Accepted for Advanced Virtual & Augmented Reality Workshop Series


Faculty are invited to apply to attend the UCSIM Advanced Virtual & Augmented Reality Workshops to learn more about authoring immersive content for teaching and research.  Five (5) faculty participants will be selected to attend each workshop series, which consists of two, 2-hour sessions held at the UCSIM | Center for Simulations & Virtual Environments Research in University Hall, including:

  • November/December 2016
    Authoring Augmented Reality Content for Android & iOS
    Learn how to develop your own mobile app using Vuforia and the Unity Development engine to create interactive augmented reality models that students can view with a smartphone or tablet.
  • February/March 2017
    Authoring Virtual Reality Content with Unity 5
    This workshop introduces how to use the Unity 5 Development engine to create basic virtual reality experiences.  Participants in this workshop will receive an Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) HeadMounted Display (HMD), an XBox One controller, and a Leap Motion gesture controller. 
  • April/May 2017
    Creating Gesture Controls with Leap Motion
    The movie Minority Report popularized the notion of using your hands to control computer interfaces, and in this workshop, you will discover how to use the Leap Motion controller to create your own hand mapping gestures and interfaces.  Participants of this workshop will receive a Leap Motion controller.

In addition, the workshops will include printed guides with instructions for installing, using, and developing basic content for the corresponding immersive technology covered in each workshop. Funding for the equipment to be granted to faculty participants of the workshop series was provided by the Office of the Provost through the Faculty Development Funds for Universal Providers program.

Applications are due by 5:oo PM EST on November 15, 2016.  Accepted applicants will be notified by email.

For more information, read the full application instructions and apply today!

Virtual Reality as a Powerful Tool in Medicine

Virtual Reality Therapy (VRT) is one of the most important applications of Virtual Reality (VR) and Simulation technology. VR has proven to be an efficient tool due to the ability of a computer to provide visuals, sound, and in some cases other sensory information such as touch, which replicates a physical situation as closely as possible, but only in a virtual sense.

For example, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) can be treated with VRT. It is a disorder that occurs when an individual experiences traumatizing situations which embeds a feeling of powerlessness and horror in the individual. Through VR, more than 70% of soldiers who were suffering from PTSD after the Iraq war have seen improvements. Similar results are obtained from the use of VR in Computerized CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) where at a research level, several mental disorders have been diagnosed accurately and treatment has been prescribed.

With the advent of new consumer level VR technology, such as the Oculus Rift and other HMD (Head Mounted Display) systems which provide the user with visual experiences that are very close to the real situations, and other peripheral developments to track movement and motion, it is now possible to provide all sorts of sensory information to the user for any given situation.

Using this computing capability to treat and help people suffering from perennial and genetic disorders such as Autism, Down’s Syndrome (DS) and other genetic disorders is a new area of exploration for using VR in medicine and treatment. Currently children suffering from such genetic disorders are given special training by qualified and dedicated teachers and parents who work in co-operation with them day and night in order to provide assistance in dealing with real life situations. However, there are limitations to this method of teaching which may be augmented by including VR based teaching with human assisted training.

The use of Virtual Reality to tackle this issue has a great future from both a medical and business perspective. The power of computing and providing sensory information is the key to making this technology possible. Researchers at the University of Haifa, Israel have made excellent studies on the use of VR to treat Autism. Their collaboration with MERL’s Diamond Touch (DT) hardware, a multitouch interface to assist learning, has been an extremely powerful tool in improving communication and social skills along with improving academic and functional abilities.

Another similar situation is in simulating traffic signals and road crossing scenarios which cannot be implemented in reality due to the inherent danger of the scenario, but in a virtual reality situation, those suffering from anxiety can receive treatment in safety. This research performed at the University of Haifa has been extremely effective in treating children suffering from Autism.

Although using VR for treatment of such disorders is becoming more accepted, the idea of further research and developing this technology to a consumer level product which enables best treatment techniques from one part of the world to be available to every individual suffering from this disorder is still in its infancy. The use of any technology is judged by its potential to influence and change humanity, and the ultimate goal of many VR researchers is to move beyond gaming services to develop technologies that can change individuals’ lives and help them become better, more capable and healthy people.



Delavarian, Mona; Afrooz, G Ali and Gharibzadeh, Shahriar, “Virtual Reality and Down Syndrome Rehabilitation.” The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 24:2, Spring 2012

Josman, Naomi; Ben-Chaim, Hadass Milika; Friedrich, Shula;Weiss, Patrice L, “Effectiveness of Virtual Reality for Teaching Street-Crossing Skills to Children and Adolescents with Autism”, International Journal of Disability Development and Education (Impact Factor: 0.59). ;7(1):49-56; 01/2008;.

“Virtual reality treatment for autism.” Virtual reality blog.  Retrieved 17 Aug. 2014. <>

Gal, Eynat; Bauminger, Nirit; Goren-Bar,Dina; Pianesi, Fabio; Stock, Oliviero; Zancanaro, Massimo; Weiss, Patrice L. (Tamar), ” Enhancing social communication of children with high functioning autism through a co-located interface”, AI and Society, the Journal of Human-Centred Systems. ; Vol 24; 01:2009.

Image Credits

Blue Room ISV;

Marc Ambasna-Jones; Virtual Reality Addresses UK Kids’ Autism and Phobias; web page IDG Connect; July 08, 2014 <>