College of HHD

CSUN 2023-24 Research Fellow for HHD: Jake Hinkel-Lipsker

March 9, 2023

jake hinkel lipskerWe are happy to announce that Jacob (Jake) Hinkel-Lipsker (Kinesiology) has been named the CSUN 2023-24 Research Fellow for the College of Health and Human Development. Jake will continue his ongoing research with two studies focusing on the Feasibility of Virtual Reality for Rehabilitation Motor Skills. Reaching across campus to share strengths, he will engage with CSUN researchers in Psychology and Mechanical Engineering. As Virtual Reality (VR) technology continues to progress, there is a growing interest in its use as a rehabilitative tool for those with movement disorders, where VR can provide a safe, controlled practice environment for patients.

Jake told us about his CSUN 2023-24 Research Fellowship Virtual Reality research projects for HHD:

"This project is focused on determining the feasibility of virtual reality (VR) applications for rehabilitation of motor skills such as walking and reaching for/grasping of objects. There is a need to better understand how to best design VR training environments to maximize skill learning, and how people respond to the technology over time.

"Over an eight-week training period, this project, which also involves CSUN researchers in Psychology and Mechanical Engineering, will manipulate aspects of VR design such as physical fidelity (how realistic a VR space is), cognitive fidelity (how well the VR space mimics the psychological demands of the real world), and adaptability (whether the VR environment scales how challenging the practice space is to the skill level of the user). The research team will collect data related to skill performance, movement biomechanics, eye-gaze patterns, and user experiences across two studies.

"The first study will examine how participants walk in a VR environment that displays a dark room with suddenly-appearing obstacles that they have to step over, and will examine both a young, healthy population and those who have suffered a stroke. The second study will investigate how people both with and without an arm amputation learn to use a new prosthetic arm and hand in VR. This work has been recently funded through the National Science Foundation’s Mind, Machine, and Motor Nexus program.

"This awarded fellowship is quite meaningful to me. In addition to focusing on this project, I will also spend time side-by-side in the lab with undergraduate and graduate student researchers without whom completion of this project would be impossible. Moreover, this fellowship affirms to me that the research that I do is interesting, impactful, and relevant within the context of the greater goals of the College of Health and Human Development."

Jacob Hinkel-Lipsker, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Kinesiology