Healthcare could see future medics training in virtual reality
A virtual reality training device that allows medics to “touch” a patient remotely is being developed by medical and tech experts in Wales.
The Centre of Excellence in Mobile and Emerging Technologies (CEMET), based at the University of South Wales (USW), and Advanced Medical Simulation Online (AMSO) have been working together on a proof-of-concept for the virtual reality device.
The device will enable medical students to interact with objects in a virtual space by using specially-designed gloves that offer the sensation of feel, vibration, and resistance to touch.
With this, students will be able to receive remote training for clinical scenarios with feedback and advice from a trainer.
For example, in the case of dealing with an injured patient, the virtual reality device could create a scenario in which the student could carry out a physical examination, and then operate an ultrasound machinery correctly and produce a scan – all without needing to travel somewhere to be in a physical room.
AMSO has set up a dedicated company, Metaverse Education and Training Applications Ltd (META Learning), to further develop the concept and is looking for investment in order to take the system to market.
Nazar Amso, chief executive of AMSO, said that the company has been supporting online and remote healthcare skills training since 2015, “with many using our resources from across the globe.”. Including, “people in the Bahamas, Middle East, Fiji, and New Zealand, who [could already] access the training remotely day and night”.
“While we covered the knowledge and were able to assess if they knew what was being taught, we were unable to assess if the ‘hands-on’ parts of the training has been adequately understood unless the students were able to attend at our simulation centre in Cardiff – which would obviously be costly for students living thousands of miles away,” he added. “So, we needed to develop a system which could allow the students to prove their skills through immersive virtual reality.”
“Our collaboration with CEMET team has been very fulfilling,” Amso expanded. It has helped AMSO in “realising our goal in demonstrating the potential of immersive virtual reality environment in remote learning and acquisition of skills in a health care environment”.
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