Exploring VR with Women in Innovation at uOttawa

Posted on Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Ready player two… Exploring VR, by Women in Innovation, held at the University of Ottawa Library’s Tinkering Lab late June, brought together students, professors and staff to connect, share and learn.

Providing a platform to foster opportunities through networking and knowledge sharing, Women in Innovation is co-chaired by MaryAnn Welke Lesage, Enterprise Architect and Lyne Charlebois, Director of IT at the Faculty of Medicine. Raising awareness to diversity and inclusion challenges, which are happening in today’s business world, MaryAnn talked about her recent presentation at CANHEIT 2019.

Elisha Pruner, Software Developer for Machine Learning and Virtual Reality at the Ottawa Hospital, demonstrated how a practical VR app can improve the care for cancer patients during chemo and radiation treatment. We put to test another app that Elisha is developing that helps doctors visualize their workflow with 3D representations of the patient’s anatomy for planning purposes. Doctors are also using it in real time while performing surgeries.

Woman in front of big screen with VR glasses and equipment

The participants had great fun trying out the VR equipment and apps, which Mish Boutet, Digital Literacy Librarian from the Library’s Tinkering Lab presented. Both apps were developed or co-developed by women and showcase innovative applications of VR technology. The Teacher’s Lens Beta adapts the Harvard Implicit Association Test (IAT) to a VR classroom environment to help teachers detect and mitigate unconscious bias toward gender and race. Nature Treks VR is a relaxation app that invites users to explore peaceful and exotic landscapes. A version of this app includes real-world destinations and is used in hospitals, retirement homes, and long-term care homes to allow people otherwise unable to travel to see the world.

“Experiencing the VR environment was very exciting, and I can’t wait to see more of that engaged with the medical industry. This event was a great opportunity to meet the Women in innovation group at our University -- people who are very inspiring for a female scientist like me. I do hope to see more events like this where we can explore innovative technologies, communicate and grow our network.”  Bita Ebrahimzadeh Tabrizi, Master student in Biomedical Engineering. 

Women in front of big screen with VR glasses and equipment

For Alain Roy, who recently joined the University as Deputy Chief Information Officer, it was the perfect opportunity to connect with peers and learn more about the community. "Women in Innovation opens the door for students, employees, professors and others to connect while learning and trying out technologies. I am excited to support this initiative and collaborate with everyone, while engaging more women and men from various fields. I think this is a great venue to see the University community grow.”

To help develop VR and AR opportunities at the University to improve teaching, research and learning opportunities and to learn about the latest advancements in the field, join the VR/AR Community of Practice created by the Teaching and Learning Support Service (TLSS). On July 26, Professor Linda Garcia will be discussing at the Tinkering Lab the link between technology, human interactions and dementia. If you would like to attend or for more information, contact Richard Pinet, Director, Centre for Innovative Pedagogies Digital Learning, TLSS.

Women in Innovation provides a platform for women and male advocates in the University STEM community (staff, student, faculty, alumni, and partners) to create and sustain awareness regarding our profession and foster opportunities through networking and knowledge sharing.

We are looking forward to having more people like you in our community. If you want to participate in future events or share your expertise and experience with us, you can find us on LinkedIn.

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