Virtual Reality for emergency medicine
The popularization of highly realistic and affordable Virtual Reality system has enabled modern software developers to break new grounds in the fields of gaming, entertainment, storytelling, management of health conditions, medical research and of course, education. The latest exciting experiment in the field of VR education was recently unveiled on the premises of the OhioHealth’s Grant Medical Center where resident physicians gained access to the brand new way to experience training for emergency medicine. The system they used was based on the technology offered by HTC Vive VR platform and involved reproduction of high-resolution 360-degree video recordings of various medical emergency scenarios.
The entire test was conceived by the members of Ohio University’s Immersive Media Initiative whose goal is to devise new ways to showcase realistic situations inside VR space. This program, in particular, enabled medical residents to be dropped in the middle of the virtual trauma bay where an active medical procedure was being performed. The users could walk inside the virtual 3D space that was filmed with several highly sensitive 3D cameras. Everything user experience was presented in the fully 3D stereoscopic way, and they could also hear 3D audio and even interact a bit with two highly-accurately tracked hand controllers. All those recordings were captured, edited and used with the permission of the patients and doctors who performed the procedures. The recordings were stitched together into a full 3D scene that could be played over and over. The first run of this test had access to three full scenarios, but the members of the Immersive Media Initiative plan to expand this to include more scenarios.
This exciting test enabled residents of OhioHealth’s Grant Medical Center to freely roam the environment and witness first hand how seasoned physicians and surgeons dealt with highly stressful situations. While the users could roam across the VR emergency room, they could not perform any interactions with the recordings of procedures that were happening in front of them.
The use of virtual reality in medical research, training and health management has become more and more active during the last several years, enabling the medical community to gain access to a tool that they previously believed to be impossible to have. Today, medical students in several universities have access to VR medical education, Google Glass test enabled surgeons to gain access to augmented reality during complicated procedures, patients use VR to augment their pain or mental health treatments, and much more.
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