Dr. Rizzo currently serves as director of innovation and technology in the department of rehabilitation medicine. He has published extensively. His research topics include: biomechanics; assistive and wearable technology; blindness and visual impairment; and sensory augmentation. He is a graduate of New York Medical College and completed his residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at NYU as well as a clinical research fellowship at the Rusk Rehabilitation Institute.
Dr. Rizzo began Part 2 of his grand round presentations with the question, “OK, what were our findings?” With existing GPS data sets, we need to be mindful of side view versus front view in where cameras are positioned. A data set being described had more side view images than front view, which can be extremely important for the visually impaired. He pointed to being excited about a collaboration with the United Nations. We have shared these data with that organization and they are quite impressed with our results, which can be of potential use to blind individuals navigating the UN building. We are creating a cellphone application that uses vision in place recognition. The UN is providing some funding support for a master’s student working on this project. Dr. Rizzothen responded to a question regarding falls and whether there is information to assess the relative slipperiness of surfaces. Ground surfaces are attracting more attention, such as puddles and how to reroute pedestrians around hazardous terrain. He then described a reconstruction project that is underway to change different environments by developing new approaches to navigating subway stations consisting of multiple floors and tracks. He played a video clip that shows how reconstruction is occurring. He addressed the question of how we handle all this video data for these mobility platforms and what a technician must do with all this high-resolution video data arriving. He also indicated that we currently are looking at sending the data and having new transmission policies, and also work being accomplished on dual connectivity. A question-and-answer period followed his presentation.
John-Ross (JR) Rizzo, MD is a physician scientist at Rusk Rehabilitation. He leads the Visuomotor Integration Laboratory where his team focuses on eye-hand coordination as it relates to acquired brain injury. Dr. Rizzo has been recognized as a Top 40 under 40 by Crain’s for his industry-leading innovation and dedication to transforming the lives of those with vision deficiencies worldwide.
Dr. Rizzo began Part 1 of a two-part grand rounds presentation by asking, “What if the lights suddenly went out in this room?” He then proceeded to discuss virtual reality demonstrations of the three biggest vision killers in the U.S.: age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. He showed a filter and asked the audience how disturbing it would be if you had it constantly sitting on top of your visual perception? He displayed views to demonstrate profound differences between clear visual perception and altered perception secondary to these conditions. The problem is going from bad to worse. In the U.S., there are 27 million adults ages 18 and older who report vision loss, and by 2050, the number can be expected to approach 52 million. Impaired vision can affect mobility and lead to many problems, such as massive unemployment rates, quality of life losses, and functional dependencies. He then described current mobility solutions, such as primary mobility tools. A worry is that the standard of care can lead to an immobility downward spiral. So as a consequence, obesity, stroke, and diabetes among other problems such as falls all jump upward. He provided a description of many devices being developed to deal with vision loss. The differences between the spatial world of the blind and the sighted were illustrated. Dr. Rizzo described a lengthy itemization of impediments to navigation on city sidewalks that visually impaired individuals must attempt to deal with successfully.