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NUS Medicine Using Virtual Reality To Replace The Need For Cadaver

National University of Singapore’s Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine embracing VR for medical education.

With all the advancements in virtual reality (VR) it is no surprise that the National University of Singapore’s Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (NUS Medicine) is using the technology to further their educational training.

NUS Medicine

Since last September NUS Medicine has been fine-tuning a system called Virtual Interactive Human Anatomy (VIHA) which allows students a chance to explore the anatomy of the human body by freely manipulating and looking inside different parts and structures using the motion controls of their selected VR headset. The system was showcased at NUS Medicine on May 31st, offering more a chance to see it in action.

The VHIA offers real-life situations, such as rigorous exercise’s effects on leg muscles, and how a hip fracture may affect blood flow in certain arteries. All of these are viewable within virtual space offering questions and animations that will test a students knowledge on how the different cases and the best way to treat each one.

The driving force behind the system was Associate Professor Suresh Pillai, director of the Centre for Healthcare Simulation at NUS Medicine, who noted the deficiencies in anatomy knowledge and a lack of appreciation for how different body structures work foamed the foundation for the development of the system. This was also supported by the limited number of cadavers available for anatomy teaching making the need for a replacement system more valuable.

NUS Medicine

Replacement the current method of teaching via cadaver’s, the VR solution will allow for students to spend more time in a one-on-one environment which will ensure more effective learning. Currently NUS Medicine only have a limited number of cadavers with students usually only getting around two hours a week with one for teaching, often in groups of 10 to 15 per cadaver.

All of these factor resulted in NUS Medicine to use the home-grown talent and resources from the NUS Smart Systems Institute to develop the VR system which would meet their teaching needs and offering more students a chance to learn in an immersive way. The hope for the future is to improve the VR system by incorporating more real-life scenarios and features which will be of benefit to students. Associate Professor Suresh Pillai hopes to make the simulation foam up to 20 percent of the curriculum for medical students, up from around 15 percent that it currently stands.

For more on NUS Medicine in the future, keep reading VRFocus.

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