News and Events

2009-02-09Cancer Diagnosis: Now in 3D

A new 3D microscope designed specifically for early cancer diagnosis has been developed that will advance disease detection because both absorbance and fluorescence 3D images can be generated on the same cell. This work was recently presented by graduate student Qin Miao from the University of Washington who won best student paper for the conference of Biomedical Applications in Molecular, Structural, and Functional Imaging, part of SPIE Medical Imaging held in Orlando Florida, Feb 8-12, 2009. Co-authors are Eric Seibel and the research team at Visiongate Inc., (Gig Harbor, WA), who have co-developed this technology. More details about the significance of this advancement and to see a 3D movie of fluorescent chromosomes can be found online at a recent UW Press Release.

2008-11-11Virtual Reality helps war heros recover from burns

U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan often suffer severe burns when their vehicles hit roadside bombs planted by insurgents, or when our troops are attacked by terrorists with rocket-propelled grenades or car bombs. Pain during recovery from a severe burn and related injuries is long and intense, especially during daily wound care and physical therapy. Encouragingly, patients with combat-related burn injuries are reporting large reductions in pain during wound care when they play a distracting immersive virtual reality video game named SnowWorld. SnowWorld was developed by Hoffman and Patterson at the University of Washington and built by worldbuilders at This new study is being conducted by Dr. Chris Maani of the U.S. Army in San Antonio and Hunter Hoffman, Ph.D., from our lab. Dr. Maani is also using our new articulated arm mounted VR goggle holders, designed by Hoffman and Magula. More information can be found at the Science Central article online.

2008-08-08Pill Camera with air channel for unsedated endoscopy

A new swallowable capsule with air channel has been developed for improved image-guided cancer detection in the esophagus while at lower cost as no sedation is required for the patient. A demonstration has been captured on video and more information can be found within the Science Central article online. Further information can be found at the article presented at 2009 SPIE Medical Imaging conference in Orlando, FL, Feb 10, 2009. Visualization, Image-guided Procedures and Modeling Conference Paper #7261-47 is entitled, "Swallowable capsule with air channel for improved image-guided cancer detection in the esophagus" by authors: EJ Seibel, CD Melville, RS Johnston, CM Lee, JK Lung, AP Babchanik, Univ. of Washington (Seattle, WA); and JA Dominitz, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System (USA).

2008-03-24Scanning fiber endoscope research recognized
Research Associate Professor Eric Seibel's breakthrough research on flexible capsule endoscopes has been received much publicity in a variety of sources, both locally and nationally.

Seibel gave an invited talk at the Optical Society of America’s September 2007 “Frontiers in Optics” annual meeting in San Jose, CA. His scanning fiber endoscope and Cell-CT images were featured in the January 2008 Optics & Photonics News Magazine review of the conference. View the report online at

Several press articles and/or news stories can be found at the links below:
2008-03-22Virtual reality video game to help burn patients play their way to pain relief

SnowWorld is an interactive, virtual-reality video game that is being used at Loyola University Hospital in Maywood, Illinois to help manage severe pain felt by burn patients during wound care. SnowWorld was designed and tested by Hunter Hoffman and built by the imaginative worldbuilders at More information can be found at the Science Daily article online.

2008-01-24Camera in a pill offers cheaper, easier window on your insides

A tiny, single-eyed camera fits in a pill that can easily be swallowed. The device promises low-cost screens to prevent esophageal cancer. Read more

2007-11-06A virtual reality program aims to ease pain

Seattle Times newspaper report by Richard Seven on Hunter Hoffman's work, for more information check out the Seattle Times article online.

2006-08-28True3D in Popular Science

The HITLab's True3D technology is featured in the September issue of Popular Science! Check out the True3D project pages for more information.

2006-07-26Hunter Hoffman's PTSD work featured on MSNBC

Read about the virtual PTSD therapy on MS-NBC.

2004-08-10HIT Lab Therapeutic VR work featured in Scientific American

Read about our progress in pain distraction and phobia desensitization in the August 2004 edition of Scientific American!

2004-06-21Virtual reality significantly reduces pain-related brain activity

A new UW study records drops of as much as 97 percent in pain-related brain activity in some brain centers when subjects use virtual reality while experiencing pain. It's the first time that scientists have documented a link between virtual reality and pain reduction in terms of an actual physiological response. Read more

2004-05-27Wearable Low Vision Aid - NSF Press Release

The wearable low vision aid project is highlighted in a national press release by NSF.

2004-05-27UW COE Press Release on Wearable Low Vision Aid

The University of Washington College of Engineering highlights the wearable low vision aid project and presentation at the Society for Information Display 2004 International Symposium press release by UW.

2003-10-30Touch doubles the power of VR therapy for spider phobia, study finds

Just in time for Halloween, a new study of the use of virtual reality to treat spider phobia indicates that touching the fuzzy creepy-crawlers can make the therapy twice as effective. Read more