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Fifty years of research and innovation at SFU: making pain relief a virtual reality

November 27, 2015
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SFU School of Interactive Arts and Technology professor Diane Gromala has been fascinated by the mind-body connection since she was a child. In early adulthood, her fascination grew into an obsession that has spurred her research into how new technologies—especially virtual reality (VR)—can be used as interventions for pain and stress.

She quickly founded the Canadian Foundation for Innovation-funded Pain Studies lab after joining SFU in 2005. There, she directs a team dedicated to exploring new ways to use immersive virtual reality environments and other technologies to mitigate pain and stress. Her team’s recent research projects are intended to either distract the user from their pain or to help them manage it by allowing them to practice taking control of their inner resources.