Winter Quarter 2021

Perspectives in Assistive Technology


David L. Jaffe, MS
Online via Zoom
Tuesdays & Thursdays from 4:30pm to 5:50pm PT

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Tuesday, March 9th

photo of Walter Greenleaf

Machine Learning, Biosensing, Virtual Reality Technology - Converging to Transform Healthcare
Walter Greenleaf, PhD
Distinguished Scholar: Virtual Human Interaction Lab and MediaX, Stanford University
Director: National Mental Health Innovation Center, University of Colorado
Chair: International Virtual Reality Health Association

Abstract: This presentation provides an overview of how the coming wave of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, Machine Learning and Biosensing Technology are converging and elaborates how this convergence will impact clinical care, disability solutions, and personal health and wellness.

Although entertainment, social connection, and gaming is driving the initial adoption of VR and AR technology, the deepest and most significant impact of the next generation of VR/AR technology will be to enhance clinical care and to improve personal health and wellness. VR and AR technology will also help facilitate the shift of medicine from clinic-based care to telemedicine based care, and to facilitate personalized medicine.

We know from decades of clinical research that VR/AR technology can provide breakthrough solutions that address the most difficult problems in healthcare - ranging from mood disorders such as Anxiety and Depression to PTSD, Addictions, Autism, Cognitive Aging, Stroke Recovery, and Physical Rehabilitation, to name just a few.

VR and AR Systems can be used to improve medical training such as surgical skill training and procedure planning by applying simulation-based learning principals. Personal health and wellness will be improved by using VR to promote healthy lifestyles and to reduce stress and anxiety.

VR/AR technology, when combined with Machine Learning and Biosensing technology can be used to improve clinical measurements and assessments by making them more objective and functional. As the cost of healthcare rises, this confluence of emerging technology well be used as the foundation for next-generation telemedicine platforms to reduce costs of care delivery, improve clinical efficiency, and reach previously underserved populations.

Biosketch: Walter Greenleaf is a neuroscientist and a medical technology developer working at Stanford University. With over three decades of research and development experience, Walter is considered a leading authority in the field of digital medicine and medical virtual reality technology.

Research Focus: Walter’s current research focus is on developing computer supported clinical products, with a specific emphasis on applying virtual reality and digital health technology to address difficult problems in behavioral and physical medicine such as Post-traumatic Stress, Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Traumatic Brain Injury and Stroke, Addictions, and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

His early research was on age-related changes in the neuroendocrine system and the effects on human behavior.

Academic Positions: Walter is currently a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s MediaX Program, a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, and the Director of Technology Strategy at the University of Colorado National Mental Health Innovation Center. He previously served as the Director of the Mind Division, Stanford Center on Longevity, where his focus was on age-related changes in cognition.

Medical Product Development: Walter has designed and developed numerous clinical systems over the last thirty-five years, including products in the fields of: surgical simulation, 3D medical visualization, telerehabilitation, clinical informatics, clinical decision support, point-of-care clinical data collection, ergonomic evaluation technology, automatic sleep-staging systems, psychophysiological assessment, and simulation-assisted rehabilitation technologies, as well as digital eHealth products for behavioral medicine.

Academic Leadership: Walter is the Co-founder and Board Chair for the International Virtual Reality Health Association (IVRHA).

He helped establish the California State University Center for Disability Solutions and the International Society of Virtual Rehabilitation (ISVR).

Walter serves as the Co-Organizer for three yearly conferences: The VR and Behavioral Healthcare Symposium, the Annual Virtual Reality and Healthcare Symposium, and the European Virtual Reality and Healthcare Symposium.

Walter is a scientific advisor and grant reviewer for the U.S. Public Health Service, National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Canada Fondation for Innovation (CFI), NASA, and the U.S. Department of Education (DoED). He has served as the Principal Investigator for research projects funded by the NIH and by NASA.

Corporate Management: Walter founded and served as CEO for Greenleaf Medical Systems, a medical product development company; InWorld Solutions, a company specializing in the therapeutic use of virtual worlds for behavioral health care; and Virtually Better, a company that develops virtual environments for the treatment of phobias, anxiety disorders, and PTSD. Walter served as the founding Chief Science Officer for Pear Therapeutics and as the SVP of Strategic & Corporate Affairs to MindMaze.

Academic Journals: Walter is an Associate Editor for three academic journals: JMIR Mental Health, the Journal of Virtual Reality in Medicine, and Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

Current Board Positions: Walter serves on the Board of Directors for Brainstorm: The Stanford Laboratory for Brain Health Innovation and Entrepreneurship; for Cognitive Leap, a company that develops mental health solutions for children; and for Sine Wave, the developer of Sine Space, a multi-user online Unity 3D-based virtual world platform. He is currently the technology and neuroscience advisor to several early-stage medical product companies. Walter serves on the advisory board to several venture investment firms and accelerator / incubator programs.

Walter earned a Doctorate in Neuro and Bio-Behavioral Sciences from the Stanford University School of Medicine, where he was awarded a NIMH Graduate Fellowship.

Contact Information:
Lecture Material:
Pre-lecture slides - 1.42 Mb pdf file
Slides - 10.8 Mb pdf file
Virtual Human Interaction Lab
International Virtual Reality Health Association
National Mental Health Innovation Center

Updated 03/10/2021

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