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Ivan Phelan MSc

Senior Research Fellow


Summary

I have worked at Sheffield Hallam Unversity since 2013 and have established an area with a focus on VR and Healthcare. I am the Director of the Impact VR Lab at Sheffield Hallam University.

The Impact VR Research Lab has developed a suite of immersive, interactive Virtual Reality (VR) rehabilitation systems for paediatric and adult patients with neurological and musculoskeletal conditions, orthopaedic trauma, and chronic pain. The impact achieved by these innovations has been fourfold: physically and/or psychologically enhancing the health, lifestyles, and wellbeing of patients; promoting more effective practitioner standards and services; improving public awareness and understanding of such technology and entering a related debate on social policy; and establishing commercial and medical collaborations to further improve healthcare and cost-effectiveness in the NHS.

About

I have worked at Sheffield Hallam Unversity since 2013 and have established an area with a focus on VR and Healthcare. I am the Director of the Impact VR Lab at Sheffield Hallam University.

The Impact VR Research Lab has developed a suite of immersive, interactive Virtual Reality (VR) rehabilitation systems for paediatric and adult patients with neurological and musculoskeletal conditions, orthopaedic trauma, and chronic pain. The impact achieved by these innovations has been fourfold: physically and/or psychologically enhancing the health, lifestyles, and wellbeing of patients; promoting more effective practitioner standards and services; improving public awareness and understanding of such technology and entering a related debate on social policy; and establishing commercial and medical collaborations to further improve healthcare and cost-effectiveness in the NHS.

Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, Game Development, Health Technology Rehabilitation, Game Design, Unity and UDK.

Teaching

Department of Computing

Social Sciences and Arts

VR prosthetic Training Application for Amputees

Welcome Trust – Virtual Reality Prosthetics: Body and Mind

Ministry of Defence – VR Surgery for Medics

Cadburys App

Game Development

Game Development

Game Development Practice –Assistant Lecture

Supervisor Final Year Project - SEGM

Research

MRC – Dysphagia VR. (Chief Investigator) May 2021 to May 2022

Oropharyngeal Dysphagia (OD) is a swallowing disorder, where it takes more time and effort to move food or liquid safely from your mouth to your stomach and results in reduced quality of life for the individual.

It is anticipated that the VR system would enhance the re-education of the muscles and make swallowing safer and more effective again.

Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity (Principal Investigator) Start Date TBC

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is a genetic disease causing muscle weakness and wasting affecting 2,500 people in the UK. International Standards of Care recommend that children with DMD undertake a daily stretching programme to maintain maximum muscle extensibility and optimise function. Children are not motivated to perform these exercises, leading to earlier complications, reduced function and a poorer long-term prognosis.

A VR platform will be developed that will emulate current DMD physiotherapy and we will ask therapists and children to take part in testing.

NIHR - VR Prosthetics (Principal Investigator) August 2017 to June 2022

This project creates and develops a VR prosthetics training facility to help train potential prosthetics wearers more effectively, reduce the number of prostheses rejections and enable greater mastery of prosthetics across a wide range of everyday tasks. This research has the potential to save the NHS clinic time and the cost of the rejection of prosthetics.

MRC - Using Virtual Reality for Rehabilitation of Lower Limbs (Chief Investigator) September 2019 to June 2022

I am leading the development of bespoke Immersive VR scenarios for in-patients in the immediate post-surgery period to encourage them to perform the required physiotherapy exercises. This has the potential to be used in many other areas affecting walking and gait.

MRC - VR upper limb rehab with Sheffield Children’s Hospital. (Chief Investigator) August 2017 to February 2019

I developed immersive VR scenarios for children aged 7+ which would aid the more successful (and relatively painless) achievement of the required limb movements advised by paediatric physiotherapists and occupational therapists.

Grow MedTech - Using VR for rehabilitation of upper limbs with Sheffield Children’s Hospital (SCH) (Chief Investigator) September 2019 to May 2021

I lead this follow-on study from the MRC upper limb rehab project, to embed the process with children at SCH and home.

Wellcome Trust - Virtual Reality Prosthetics, body and mind Society Award - (Co-Investigator)

This project engaged the public in biomedical and technological research. As the technical lead, I developed the VR content and ran live demonstrations and presentations at each public event, involving people of all ages.

Dissemination of the work has been widespread. VR projects have been showcased at high-profile Body and Mind exhibitions in local museums, the National Museum of Scotland and the World ParaAthletics Championships in London in July 2017. The combined visitor count from all events was 8,559.

MRC - VR distraction from pain during burns dressings with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals (Chief Investigator) August 2016 to December 2017.

This project investigated possible ways of reducing the pain and anxiety experienced by burns victims by using techniques I developed as Immersive VR distraction serious games. A clinical trial conducted with inpatients showed how, during the VR exposure, they experienced considerably less pain and/or anxiety (according to score-ratings of 0 to 100), compared to 'conventional' dressings sessions.

The system helped the patients tolerate the pain, leading to both patients and staff that were eager to use it going forward.

Featured Projects

Collaborators and Sponsors

  • Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust
  • Sheffield Teaching Hospital
  • MRC
  • GrowMedTech
  • NIHR

Publications

Journal articles

Phelan, I., Furness, P., Matsangidou, M., Babiker, N., Fehily, O., Thompson, A., ... Lindley, S. (2021). Designing effective virtual reality environments for pain management in burn-injured patients. Virtual Reality. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10055-021-00552-z

Phelan, I., Furness, P., Dunn, H., Carrion-Plaza, A., Matsangidou, M., Dimitri, P., & Lindley, S. (2021). Immersive Virtual Reality in Children with Upper Limb Injuries: Findings from a Feasibility Study. Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine. http://doi.org/10.3233/PRM-190635

Phelan, I., Furness, P., Matsangidou, M., Carrion-Plaza, A., Dunn, H., Dimitri, P., & Lindley, S. (2021). Playing your pain away: designing a virtual reality physical therapy for children with upper limb motor impairment. Virtual Reality. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10055-021-00522-5

Chau, B., Phelan, I., Ta, P., Chi, B., Loyola, K., Yeo, E., ... McCowan, B. (2020). Immersive virtual reality for pain relief in upper limb complex regional pain syndrome: A pilot study. Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, 17 (4-6), 47-52. https://innovationscns.com/immersive-virtual-reality-complex-pain/

Phelan, I., Furness, P., Fehily, O., Thompson, A., Babiker, N., Lamb, M., & Lindley, S. (2019). A mixed-methods investigation into the acceptability, usability and perceived effectiveness of active and passive virtual reality scenarios in managing pain under experimental conditions. Journal of Burn Care & Research, 40 (1), 85-90. http://doi.org/10.1093/jbcr/iry052

Furness, P., Phelan, I., Babiker, N., Fehily, O., Thompson, A., & Lindley, S. (2019). Reducing pain during wound dressings in burn care using virtual reality: a study of perceived impact and usability with patients and nurses. Journal of Burn Care & Research, 40 (6), 878-885. http://doi.org/10.1093/jbcr/irz106

Chau, B., Phelan, I., Ta, P., Hata, J., & Tran, D. (2017). Immersive virtual reality therapy with myoelectric control for treatment-resistant phantom limb pain: Case report. Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, 14 (7-8), 3-7. http://innovationscns.com/phantom-limb-pain-july-august-2017/

Conference papers

Phelan, I., Arden, M., Matsangidou, M., Carrion-Plaza, A., & Lindley, S. (2021). Designing a Virtual Reality Myoelectric Prosthesis Training System for Amputees. Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings, 1-7. http://doi.org/10.1145/3411763.3443454

Phelan, I., Arden, M., Garcia, C., & Roast, C. (2015). Exploring virtual reality and prosthetic training. In Höllerer, T., Interrante, V., Lecuyer, A., & Swan, J.E.I.I. (Eds.) 2015 IEEE Virtual Reality Conference (VR) , Arles, France, 23-27 March, 2015, Proceedings, (pp. 353-354). Piscataway, NJ: IEEE: http://doi.org/10.1109/VR.2015.7223441

Postgraduate supervision

What are the future implications and impact of virtual and augmented reality systems in education?

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