WorldViz Partners with The Origins of Balance Deficits and Falls (OBDAF) Research Cluster

March 6, 2019

Peter Schlueer (WorldViz), Sarah Wilson (OBDAF)

WorldViz is pleased to announce a new exciting partnership with the The Origins of Balance Deficits and Falls (OBDAF) Research Cluster of University of British Columbia. Researchers within this cluster study the mechanistic principles of healthy balance control and origins of balance deficits and falls.

The OBDAF Research Cluster is crucial for developing new tools, therapeutic interventions and technologies to reduce the likelihood and impact of balance instability and falls. The cluster consists of over 35 members from across 6 departments at UBC and a wide network of institutions across Canada, the US, Europe and Australia. Cluster members are internationally recognized experts in the study of human balance and mobility and share a passion for research that aims to understand the origins of balance deficits and falls. Research focuses on the sensori-motor, orthopaedic, psychological and neurological factors that contribute to fall risk in older adults and individuals with Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, vestibular loss, spinal cord and traumatic brain injury.

In research and development, WorldViz VR solutions enable ground-breaking experimental setups that would be impossible in the real world while guaranteeing high experimental control and ecological validity. The WorldViz Vizard VR software, the Matlab of VR, has long been the chosen engine for R&D in both university and business settings. Specifically, WorldViz solutions allow users involved in research the opportunity to: 1) create a cost-effective experiment where reality can be simulated to capture accurate results; 2) set up controlled and repeatable experiments; 3) manipulate the world in ways normally impossible or prohibitively expensive in reality, and; 4) automate analysis of physiological data.

As part of this partnership, WorldViz is offering all cluster members a “one-time in-kind discount” for Vizard VR software purchases. To allow members to replicate/expand on existing research from Professor Mark Carpenter at University of British Columbia, WorldViz offers to sell Vizard Enterprise Edition licenses for the price of the Vizard Development Edition.

Vizard, the Matlab of VR, allows researchers to build precise and complex simulations that connect to VR headsets, CAVEs and Powerwalls, head/hand motion trackers and motion capture systems, and specialty devices such as eye trackers, haptic feedback devices, and biophysical sensors such as EEGs, EKGs and GSRs. Data collection, analysis, and full experimental control are possible through Vizard’s Python-based coding interface and layout of modules for scientific research.

Cluster members should please contact WorldViz at and request a Vizard quote for “Origins of Balance Deficits and Falls Research Cluster” or ask to set up a phone call to consult with the sales team on a solution which best fits what they are aiming to achieve in their research.

Figure : Experimental setup for virtual and real environments as used by Cleworth et al., (2012) comparing the visual scene (observed by the participant) in the low and high conditions. The model located to the left of each visual scene illustrates the actual standing orientation of the participant during each condition.

Figure 2: Cluster members Mark Carpenter and Taylor Cleworth using virtual reality to examine the role of fear in balance control in the UBC Kinesiology Neural Control of Posture and Movement Lab.

Figure 3: Sado Rabaudi, from WorldViz, demonstration of full body tracking capability

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