Featured Profile

Albert "Skip" Rizzo
Research Assistant Professor & Research Scientist
University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies

Albert “Skip” Rizzo received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He is a Research Scientist at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies and is a research assistant professor with the USC School of Gerontology. Dr. Rizzo conducts research on the design, development and evaluation of Virtual Reality systems targeting the areas of clinical assessment, treatment and rehabilitation. This work spans the domains of cognitive, motor and psychological functioning in both healthy and clinical populations. His cognitive work has addressed the use of VR applications to test and train attention, memory, visuospatial abilities and executive function. In the motor domain, he has NIH funding to address upper extremity rehabilitation post stroke and TBI. And in the psychological domain, his latest project has focused on the translation of the graphic assets from the Xbox game, Full Spectrum Warrior, into an exposure therapy application for combat-related PTSD with Iraq War veterans. Additionally, he is conducting research on VR applications that use 360 Degree Panoramic video for exposure therapy (social phobia), role-playing applications (anger management, etc.), and recently has used this technology to capture news scenes for future multimedia journalism applications. He is also investigating the use of VR for pain distraction at LA Children’s Hospital and is currently designing game-based VR scenarios to address issues of concern with children having autistic spectrum disorder. His research also involves designing and evaluating 3D User Interface devices and interaction methods and he has created a graduate level Industrial and Systems Engineering course at USC entitled, “Human Factors and Integrated Media Systems”. In the area of Gerontology, Dr. Rizzo has served as the program director of the USC Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and is the creator of the Memory Enhancement Seminars for Seniors (MESS) program at the USC School of Gerontology. The MESS program is an 8-week series of seminars designed to assist older persons in learning the skills for memory maintenance and enhancement. He is currently conducting a research study funded by the Alzheimer’s Association that is investigating the use of Virtual Reality to test visuospatial and wayfinding ability in healthy aged and persons with Alzheimer’s Dementia. He is the associate editor of the journals, CyberPsychology and Behavior; and The International Journal of Virtual Reality, is Senior Editor of the MIT Press journal, Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, is on a number of editorial boards for journals in the areas of cognition and computer technology (Cognitive Technology; Journal of Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds; Media Psychology) and is the creator of the Virtual Reality Mental Health Email Listserver (VRPSYCH). He has recently guest-edited theme issues for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback on “VR and Psychophysiology”, two new journal issues on “Virtual Rehabilitation” (in CyberPsychology and Behavior and in the International Journal on Disability and Human Development) and one for the MIT journal Presence:Teleoperators and Virtual Environments on "Virtual Reality and Neuropsychology". Previously, he guest edited a theme issue in CyberPsychology and Behavior on “Aging and Information Technology”. He served as General Chair for the IEEE VR2003 conference in Los Angeles and co-chaired this conference in 2004. He was also the Conference Chair of the 4th Annual Workshop on Virtual Rehabilitation on Catalina Island, Los Angeles in Sept. of 2005. In his spare time, he plays rugby and rides his motorcycle.

Recent Contributions by Albert "Skip" Rizzo