After making inroads into several industries, virtual reality has now reached the delivery rooms. For long, VR enthusiasts have been trying to tap the possibilities of VR being the primary tool of education in the healthcare sector and it looks like the dream has now turned into reality, or say virtual reality. The University of Newcastle in Australia has launched a new virtual reality project that aims at teaching midwives how to safely deliver babies in a “life-or-death situation.”
The University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery and Innovation Team have collaborated to produce the first VR project. It simulates a real-world delivery room, providing midwifery students with a virtual emergency neonatal resuscitation scheme. Talking about the project, Jessica Williams, Lecturer in Midwifery and the co-project leader said, “With 15 percent of births in Australia and New Zealand requiring some form of resuscitation — a number even higher in premature babies — it is imperative our students feel comfortable and confident applying their experience in a time-critical, emergency environment. New graduates may find transitioning from performing a neonatal resuscitation in an educational setting to a real-world emergency room an overwhelming shift, which is exactly why we designed the program to bridge that gap.”
The virtual environment places midwifery students in a “real-world delivery room” and requires them to act quickly to resuscitate a newly born child. It depicts a child that needs resuscitation, tools that can be used to revive the child, and more. It also asks students to answer questions as they’re dealing with the situation.
The Newcastle project is using Samsung Gear VR and HTC Vive virtual-reality headsets for its project. But the university also created an app that can run on iOS, Android, and the PC, so students can test themselves on the devices of their choosing. Newcastle is testing some midwifery students with the virtual reality headsets and some without. It plans to compare those results to determine whether the virtual option is worth using into the future.
The limits to AR and VR are endless, but we hope these key educational projects will bring progress in ways that haven’t been explored yet.
Watch the full video to know how is it being put in use!