Virtual patients: hi-tech training for the operating theatre

In a previous ITGS News post I wrote about using simulators and virtual worlds in medical training. Players created avatars in the world and interacted with 3D models of real life medical equipment using the mouse and keyboard, or interacted in real life with digital patient simulators.

A new £60,000 operating table at St Mary’s hospital in London takes things a step further, presenting a full sized 3D digital model of the human body on a flat, human size display.

The system has many advantages over traditional physical models and practising on human cadavers. Doctors, surgeons and medical students can move, rotate, and zoom in on the body, controlling it entirely by touch. Skin, bones, blood vessels and organs can all be “switched on” or off, giving doctors a unique insight not achievable with other medical training methods.

Data from patients’ CT scans can even be incorporated to help doctors see the extent of their condition and plan operations in detail.

The system isn’t cheap but it is hoped it will help medical students gain more hands on experience which will help them in their studies and improve their skills for when they start working with real patients.

The video below shows the designers, Anatomage, presenting the system at the TED conference.

Source: BBC News article

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