The Challenging Environmental Assessment Laboratory (CEAL)
Researchers at The KITE Research Institute, which is the home to
Challenging Environmental Assessment Laboratory (CEAL), are dedicated to improving the lives of people living with
the debilitating effects of disability, illness and aging. In
the words of Dr.
Jennifer Campos, CEAL Chief Scientist, "Simulation labs allow us to study
human abilities and performance in real-life settings. This
ultimately enables us to develop and safely test innovative
products and technologies to help these individuals to live
independently and thrive."
CEAL is home to four state-of-the-art simulation laboratories:
StreetLab, DriverLab, StairLab and WinterLab. They are fertile
ground for the testing of pharmaceuticals, assistive devices,
smart clothing, footwear, and other products and technologies.
StreetLab produces a 240-degree projection of a busy street
through the eyes of a pedestrian. "Persons with hearing loss are
three times more likely to experience a fall. Our hypothesis is
that as individuals age, they have less cognitive reserve to do
multiple things simultaneously," says Dr. Campos. “Within
controlled and repeatable virtual reality environments such as
this, one may analyze when and how daily tasks such as walking
can trigger a dangerous fall.”
DriverLab is the most advanced simulator in Canada and is among
the most sophisticated driving simulators globally. Moreover,
the lab enables researchers to study the impact of health and
medications on driving performance as means by which to increase
driver safety in healthy older adults and those living with
injury or illness.
“DriverLab provides an entirely unique way to test the
real-world effects of drowsiness, medications and sensory
impairment on drivers without endangering our study
participants," says Dr. Campos.
WinterLab enables researchers to optimize the performance of
winter footwear and mobility aids (e.g. mobility scooters and
crutches) in icy and snow-covered conditions—a focus that is
particularly relevant to Canadians.
Research conducted in StairLab is being used to test
stair-related injury prevention strategies. Outcomes of this
research have led to the adoption of evidence-based clinical
recommendations, and better building codes and safety standards.