News

USC Researcher Uses Virtual Reality — and Her Mother’s Sewing Machine — to Treat Stroke Survivors

June 12, 2017

For people recovering from a stroke, even the simplest motions can become a struggle. To lift a hand, for example, requires a signal from the brain that travels all the way down an arm to the hand. That’s a lot of moving parts — and when something is damaged, it makes regaining those skills an arduous and slow process.

That could all change, though, with the help of some innovation and advances in virtual reality.

It was almost by chance that USC researcher Sook-Lei Liew started thinking about virtual reality. She was a neuroscientist; so was her husband. When she became a USC faculty member in 2015, her husband got a job in the Mixed Reality Lab at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies — and, between the two, a brain trust was born between VR and stroke rehab.

For Liew, the light bulbs really started to flash when she attended the Neurotech conference — a big industry-academic partnership featuring the latest in tech advances. Liew had already been working on stroke rehab for a while and studying brain-feedback interfaces — devices that essentially allow patients to see what is going on inside their brains.

At the Neurotech conference, something clicked.

Read the full article in USC News.