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The Future of Rehab Research

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Challenging Environment Assessment Lab (CEAL): A world first

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The centrepiece of the iDAPT Centre is the Challenging Environment Assessment Lab (CEAL) – the only facility of its kind in the world. This massive underground lab features the world’s first hydraulic motion simulator that can mimic everyday environmental challenges faced by older people and those with disabling injury or illness. Using a multitude of customizable testing environments, researchers are able to recreate conditions such as ice and snow, different terrains and slopes, rain and headlight glare. This allows researchers to safely and accurately measure difficulties encountered in the real world. The lab is also used to evaluate the impact of new treatments, devices and technologies developed at Toronto Rehab.

CEAL consists of a large (6 metre x 6 metre), 6-degree-of-freedom motion platform that can be configured with various portable, self-contained laboratory spaces (also referred to as interchangeable payloads). One is WinterLab, which has a real ice floor and can reach sub-zero temperatures and produce winds up to 15 km an hour. StreetLab has a 180-degree field-of-view curved visual projection screen combined with a treadmill interface and a wheelchair simulator. StairLab has a fully instrumented staircase. Another is DriverLab, which includes a complete vehicle, from the driver's perspective, and immerses drivers in a high-resolution virtual environment.

All lab spaces are outfitted with state-of-the-art motion capture systems, eye-trackers, surround sound systems and force plates. CEAL provides unique opportunities for researchers interested in many different research areas, including: perception-action coupling, multisensory integration (visual, auditory, proprioceptive and vestibular), visual and auditory processing, virtual reality, biomechanics, the development of assistive devices and mobility aids, and usability testing of new products, techniques and technologies. CEAL is located in the new tower at Toronto Rehab’s University Centre.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Jennifer Campos, PhD Chief Scientist, CEAL
Phone: 416 597 3422 ext. 7958
Email: jennifer.campos@uhn.ca