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StreetLab allows scientists to study participants as they safely navigate through simulated, 3D streetscapes as a novel way to test mobility devices, hearing aids and other technologies to help people live safely and independently.

With a high resolution, 240° horizontal, by +15° to -90° vertical field-of-view projection system, a curved projection screen that extends from floor to ceiling, a realistic audio soundscape and sensations like bumpy sidewalks or vibrations from a passing streetcar, StreetLab provides a multi-sensory, full-immersion experience. This visual system and a high-quality surround sound system can be coupled with various movement interfaces including a linear treadmill and manual and powered wheelchairs.

And unlike a regular lab, StreetLab allows scientists to present people with realistic scenarios while manipulating certain aspects of the environment. For instance, traffic signals, ‘intelligent’ vehicles and streams of virtual pedestrians can be adjusted to interact with the research participant.

The Research: StreetLab will be used to study the link between hearing loss and falls so that better hearing aids - ones that work more effectively on a busy street with competing noise - can be developed. The lab will also be used to better understand how people with head injuries and dementia, for instance, use cues to navigate at busy intersections.

Quick Facts:

  • Hearing loss affects more than half of Canadians over the age of 65 and of those who could benefit from a hearing aid up to 95 per cent decline or fail to seek treatment.
  • Dementia affects 20 per cent of people by the time they are 80, and more than 40 per cent by the age of 90.