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Congratulations to Jia Luo on winning the 2014 Link Foundation Fellowship for Advanced Simulation and Training. “My research focuses on the design and implementation of a haptics-based cataract surgery simulator,” said Luo, pictured with his advisers Drs. Prashant Banerjee (right) and Cristian Luciano. Luo is a 4th-year Ph.D. student in Dr. Banerjee’s Industrial Virtual Reality Institute Laboratory.

Although there are several cataract simulators currently available, none of them currently incorporate tactile feedback, a feature that could provide more realistic operative experience for ophthalmology/surgical residents. Luo’s research aims to produce a haptics-based cataract simulator to provide medical schools with an efficient training tool–that improves their residents’ tactile and psychomotor skills. Utilizing this simulator can also potentially reduce the need for expensive pig eyes and plastic models that are traditionally used for training.

Additionally, Luo says, it will allow the instructors to conduct more comprehensive analyses of the residents’ performance over time and evaluate different training strategies to better achieve their goals.

We are very proud of Jia’s accomplishments as a researcher and student at UIC,” said Banerjee. “His research in haptics simulators and the Industrial Virtual Reality Institute has the potential to revolutionize haptics-based cataract surgery, specifically tasks such as corneal incision, paracentesis and phacoemulsification.”

For Luo, the objectives are crystal clear as he continues to build on his work. “It is a great honor to have been chosen as a Link Foundation Fellow,” Luo. “With the support of this fellowship, I am incredibly motivated and encouraged to concentrate on my research.”

The Link Foundation Fellowships support programs that foster the theoretical basis, practical knowledge, and application of energy, simulation, and ocean engineering and instrumentation research, and to disseminate the results of that research through lectures, seminars and publications.

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