UBC Home Page -
UBC Home Page -
UBC Home Page UBC Home Page -
News Events Directories Search UBC myUBC Login
- -
UBC Public Affairs
UBC Reports
UBC Reports Extras
Goal / Circulation / Deadlines
Letters to the Editor & Opinion Pieces / Feedback
UBC Reports Archives
Media Releases
Services for Media
Services for the Community
Services for UBC Faculty & Staff
Find UBC Experts
Search Site

UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 12 | Oct. 10, 2002

UBC Research Offers Med Students Injection of Virtual Reality

New training tool is welcome news for patients

By Hilary Thomson

Turning patients into pincushions when students are learning to insert a needle may be a thing of the past once a UBC medical training tool becomes available.

Currently in development, the computer-based virtual reality simulator will help medical students master the art of needle insertion in a safe and realistic environment.

“Medical students now have to learn the procedure through trial and error,” says Simon DiMaio, a PhD student in the Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering who is building the simulator as his thesis project. “With an increasing number of advanced therapies being delivered by needle, it’s becoming critical to be precise.”

The simulator has two components: an on-screen computer model of tissue and a robotic arm no bigger than a shoebox. The model allows the student to see where the needle is going. Moving the robotic arm replicates the sensation of needle moving through tissue to help students learn the degree of pressure and steering required to get the needle to its target site.

Biopsies, anesthesia and various cancer treatments require needle placement to be accurate within millimetres. Surgeons must guide needles that may be long and flexible through complex anatomy solely by feel and experience. Inaccurate placement can lead to significant complications such as biopsy false negatives, incorrect medication or radiation dose, longer procedure times, patient discomfort and tissue damage.

DiMaio and supervisor Prof. Tim Salcudean are developing the technology to include various types of needle and sites comprising complex layers of tissue.

- - -  

Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

to top | UBC.ca » UBC Public Affairs

UBC Public Affairs
310 - 6251 Cecil Green Park Road, Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z1
tel 604.822.3131 | fax 604.822.2684 | e-mail public.affairs@ubc.ca

© Copyright The University of British Columbia, all rights reserved.