Full Name: Bill Kapralos
Academic Affiliation: University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Position: Associate Professor
Abstract: Simulation-based training has been widely adopted in medical education as a tool in the practice of skills within a safe, controlled, and monitored environment. However, significant cost and logistical challenges exist within traditional simulation practices. Recent advances in virtual simulation can address some of the issues associated with traditional simulation training approaches while providing an interactive and engaging learning environment for effective skills transfer to the real-world. Virtual simulation provides a viable complement to traditional educational and training practices, offering trainees the opportunity to train until they reach a specific competency level in a safe and cost-effective manner. Recent hardware and computational advancements have seen the availability of various consumer-level immersive technologies including virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) that blur the line between the physical world and the simulated/digital world. Using off-the-shelf consumer devices, these immersive technologies are providing developers of virtual simulations the opportunity to develop high fidelity applications that are highly interactive and engaging. Our work has brought together an interdisciplinary team of engineers, computer scientists, and medical experts and educators to examine the application of immersive technologies to medical education. Here we present a virtual simulation for epidural procedure preparation that employs the HTC-Vive consumer-grade VR device. The HTC-Vive allows for room-scale VR whereby the user is able to physically move within the space thus allowing them to better replicate real-world movement making their virtual experience more realistic. Preliminary results are promising, suggesting that the virtual simulation is engaging, and easy to use.