UNC Greensboro Researchers Use VR Technology to Address Major Human Health Challenges
UNC Greensboro (UNCG) has been awarded a $22,500 Inter-Institutional Planning Grant (IPG) by The UNC System to study the use of virtual reality (VR) technology to solve major human health challenges. Directing the grant work are Dr. Christopher Rhea, lead Principal Investigator (PI) in the Department of Kinesiology at UNCG and Dr. Jason Franz (co-PI) in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at UNC Chapel Hill and NC State. Together they are bringing the collective expertise of researchers/clinicians/educators from UNCG, UNC-CH, NCSU, ECU, WSSU, NCA&T, UNCW, Elon University, High Point University, Guilford College, Cone Health System, and UNC Hospital/Rex Healthcare.
Photo caption: Researchers from universities and hospitals around North Carolina test/play/experiment with the different VR equipment, giving them hands-on experience as to how it may be integrated into their research/clinical/educational programs.
This funding allows UNC Greensboro to host a series of meetings to bring people together from a wide range of human health disciplines to discuss how virtual reality (VR) could be used to enhance their research/clinical interests.
“This cross-system collaboration highlights the UNC System’s commitment to moving findings from the lab into real-life impact,” said UNC Greensboro Provost Dana Dunn. “Already the System is ahead of the curve in adopting VR to enhance human health. This interdisciplinary, cross-system funding will help us bring virtual reality technology directly to healthcare settings, where it’s needed most.”
UNC System researchers know that virtual reality technology (which is becoming more and more affordable) can be used in human health diagnosis and rehabilitation. In fact, scientists across the system are currently conducting research in this field. (At UNCG, see work of Dr. Rhea.)
But how do we accelerate the production of this knowledge and the movement of that knowledge from the lab to real life? The first step is expanding and diversifying the number of researchers/clinicians/educators using VR technology, by creating interdisciplinary teams.
This spring, UNCG will host two face-to-face meetings for this group. At the first face-to-face meeting, scholars with common interests will form interdisciplinary teams with specific research questions. At the next meeting, those teams will present their proposed projects to the group at large, and work on identifying funding mechanisms for their projects.
With researchers from universities and hospitals from around the state coming together to collectively take giant steps forward, the outlook is promising for positive outcomes for good of the state, the nation, and beyond.
About UNC Greensboro
UNC Greensboro, located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, is a higher-research activity university as classified by the Carnegie Foundation. Founded in 1891 and one of the original three UNC system institutions, UNCG is one of the most diverse universities in the state with nearly 20,000 students and over 2,700 faculty and staff members representing more than 90 nationalities. With 17 Division I athletic teams, 85 undergraduate degrees in over 100 areas of study, as well as 74 master’s and 32 doctoral programs, UNCG is consistently recognized nationally among the top universities for academic excellence and value, with noted strengths in health and wellness, visual and performing arts, nursing, education, and more. For additional information, please visit uncg.edu and follow UNCG on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.