Australia trials virtual surgery technology

Virtual reality technology that will enable trainee surgeons to practise on "virtual patients" is being trialled in a Sydney hospital this week and could be deployed in training centres across Asia-Pacific by the end of next year.

The technology, developed by scientists at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), combines 3D images with an artificial sense of touch to create a realistic simulation of surgical procedures, allowing users to both see and manipulate realistic "organs".

The first phase of the trial, which will run for a few weeks at Sydney's Nepean Hospital, will attempt to measure the differences in surgical skill by comparing the results of experienced surgeons and novices, according to Dr Matthew Hutchins, CSIRO computer scientist and virtual reality expert.

"The results of all the trials will show us what aspects of the system are useful and effective for training and how to improve it," Hutchins said. "They will tell us how realistic the images and touch feedback need to be to make the simulation useful for learning and practise."

News source: ZDnet

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