Polhemus White Paper: Selecting Motion Trackers When Designing Medical Simulators

polhemus motion tracker

For those who design simulators a unique post today: a white paper from Polhemus covering the optimal way to select a motion tracker for your medical simulator. Gear heads, sim techs, product designers and engineers will love this document!

About Polhemus:

Polhemus is known as the true pioneer and leader in the motion tracking industry, first introducing our proprietary electromagnetic technology in 1969. Although Polhemus motion tracking products are currently used in a broad range of applications, the initial product was developed for pilots, when we introduced head tracking for the military–which we still do today.

After releasing our break-through technology and gaining high achievements with the military, Polhemus began to branch out in the 1980’s—adding commercial applications like motion capture for animation and 3D Digitizing for movie special effects. We made our mark in this area, and our technology was used in numerous blockbuster Hollywood movies over the years. In 1995, Polhemus engineers were honored to receive an Academy Award in the area of Technical Achievement for the 3 Space Digitizing System.

In the 1990’s, we built upon our reputable legacy of motion tracking and expanded our product line–successfully adding eye tracking and 3D laser scanning to our portfolio. These additions paved the way for entering new markets, and Polhemus became known more broadly as the trusted, reliable source for motion measurement tracking technology. With this expansion, Polhemus evolved and focused efforts in the Research and Technology, Health Care, and Military markets. Over the years, one thing has remained the same—an ability to innovate and produce new solutions in high-fidelity motion measurement tracking.

About the White Paper:

A motion tracker is a critical component in many of today’s medical training simulators. Choosing the right tracker can help ensure a high fidelity simulator that is cost effective, reliable and easy to use. Choosing the wrong system can lead to increased development costs, reduced fidelity, high cost of ownership for customers, and potentially, failure in the market. Included in this document are lessons learned from over 40 years in providing motion trackers to military, industrial and medical training simulator manufacturers.

One of the challenges in developing effective medical training simulators is creating a user interface that is as real as the real thing. To achieve a high level of fidelity, a simulator designed to train a specific procedure should have an interface that is indistinguishable from the real thing. Motion tracking sensors are often a fundamental part of the user interface and are the link between the physical world and the computer generated virtual or simulated world. They measure, for example, the insertion path of an intubation tube, and feed that info to the simulator’s computer. But the sensors should not change the look, feel, or weight of the instruments or devices being handled by the student. In this example, an optical tracker would be a poor choice, as intubation tubes do not have reflective markers attached.

Another challenge is that many of the movements being measured are free form, rather than in a fixed linear direction, such as that of aileron pedals in an aircraft cockpit simulator. The motions of an ultrasound probe during an examination are anything but linear, and in fact are often rotating as well. This requires 6DOF (six degrees of freedom) tracking, measuring both position (x, y, z) and orientation (azimuth, pitch and roll). Many motion tracking technologies only offer 3DOF, either measuring position or orientation, but not both.

And finally, many of the medical procedures targeted for simulation training require the tracking of an instrument or device for which there is no line-of-sight. This precludes the use of optical or video tracking. Line-of-sight can be blocked by the movement of medical staff, or because the instrument or device being tracked is inserted into a mannequin. Transvaginal ultrasound and catheterization are good examples.

Read the full White Paper on Medical Simulation Motion Trackers here and then visit the Polhemus Website to learn more!

Featured Advertisement:

ECMO Simulator ‘EigenFlow’ Now Available from CLR | IMSH 2015 Product Demo

ECMO simulator

At IMSH 2015 I ran into Paul Curtis who let me know that after the positive support received from showcasing his innovative ECMO simulator designs at the SimGHOSTS 2012 event, he had launched his own company Curtis Life Research to provide the world with the EigenFlow! With a background in medical simulation, Biomedical and computer engineering it’s no wonder Paul has created a unique innovation in the field of healthcare simulation. Watch our video interview below to learn more about how you can now bring ECMO simulation to your educational program!

About the EigenFlow

Until now, an ECMO educator was present in the sim environment, manipulating the circuit in the presence of the trainee. As institutions began to develop their own ECMO simulations many realized that higher-fidelity simulation would not be possible without the development of a remote controlled simulator connected to the ECMO circuit.

At the heart of EigenFlow is an intuitive iOS interface available for free from the App Store. Rather than tethering control of the EigenFlow to desktop computers, we developed an intuitive iPhone/iPad app that wirelessly controls the EigenFlow. With one hand, controlling EigenFlow it allows control of manikin vitals with the other. EigenFlow connects wirelessly through Bluetooth, so you can control simulations from up to 100 feet.

With EigenFlow you can Simulate:

  • Thrombus
  • Air Embolus
  • Blood Monitoring
  • Cannulation

EigenFlow is a multifunction wireless ECMO simulator ideal for in situ training of perfusionists and ECMO specialists. Simply interpose the EigenFlow into your existing adult or pediatric ECMO circuit and remotely simulate thrombi, line obstruction, air emboli, and changes in pulmonary and cardiac function.

Learn more at CurtisLifeResearch.com!

SimGHOSTS-ASPiH UK Event Seeks Abstracts From EU Simulation Technology Specialists

simghosts eu


Do you operate healthcare simulation technology in the UK or EU? SimGHOSTS has partnered with ASPiH to provide the European continent’s first meeting dedicated to simulation technology specialists (sim techs), including any clinical educators/coordinators who operate simulation technology. SimGHOSTS is celebrating its 5th year in 2015 by expanding its successful hands-on training events from Australia and the United States to the UK in July of this year year. Leading medical simulation vendors have already signed up to provide simulation technology training courses to attendees!



“The biggest reward for me in presenting was being challenged by experts in the field on my approach to simulation and education, and having the opportunity to discuss topics in-depth after the presentation. It was easily as much a learning experience for me as it was for anyone who came to my presentation.” -David Halloway, Senior Clinical Adviser, University of Wollongong

SimGHOSTS Event Director Ryan Eling is happy to announce that the inaugural SimGHOSTS-ASPiH UK Conference will take place at the Leeds-Beckett University Clinical Skills Suite and the NHS Horizon Leeds facility in Leeds, UK July 27 – 29, 2015!  These two facilities offer wonderful spaces for collaboration, hands-on activities and exciting vendor exhibitions!

Submit a presentation proposal for your chance to connect and share with the global simulation technology community at SG-ASPiH2015.  We are looking for innovative projects, DIY designs and best-practice workshops in all the topics important to simulation technology staff:

  • Audiovisual systems design, installation, operation debugging, and repair
  • IT network infrastructure management and upgrading
  • Simulation manikin programming, hardware maintenance, and repair
  • Learning and inventory management system selection and manipulation
  • Theatrical staging, rehearsing, and performing
  • Media production and marketing techniques
  • Use of trauma and pathological disease moulage makeup
  • Adult learning theory and simulation learning theory
  • Best practices from the aviation simulation industry
  • Medical terminology, process, and pharmacology

For ideas and examples of content, take a look at the SimGHOSTS 2014 USA Brochure here. Accepted proposals will garner a registration discount for the primary presenter!


Submit your course today at the SimGHOSTS-ASPiH 2015 Content Form. Learn more about the inaugural UK event here!

‘Born To Be Alive Birthing’ VR Simulator Educates Patients and Healthcare Learners

birth vr simulator

Showcasing some awesome VR technology, “Born to Be Alive” is a french birthing simulation system to provide new mothers, clinical students and healthcare professionals with a better way to learn about birthing scenarios.This 3D Experience was designed by iLumens, the Medical Teaching University Laboratory at the University of Paris-Descartes in partnership with Dassault Systèmes and its brands 3DVIA and Swym. The following groups also supported the development of this 3d project: Fondation de coopération scientifique, assistance publique hopitaux de paris, société française de médecine périnatale and collège national des gynécologues et obstétriciens français.

About Born To Be Alive

“Born To Be Alive is a realistic, interactive, educational serious game aimed at the largest possible audience which allows you to test your knowledge of different topics such as pregnancy, labor, postpartum care and much more by taking you through a variety of storyline scenarios.

3D modeling and simulation have, for several decades, enabled companies to create, optimize and manufacture their products with a physical representation that matches reality. Meanwhile, the global video game market has proved, within massive multi-player online environments, the advantages provided by scripts and artistic representations of imaginary virtual worlds. By bringing these two concepts together on a Cloud collaborative platform, developing new innovative 3D uses and publishing global 3D experiences on different terminals has never been easier.

That’s how Dassault Systems came to re-inject physically-exact 3D simulations, which used to be limited to professional users, into experiences made for a much larger audience, accessible from web browser or tablets. 3D Experiences, also known as Serious Games, open the world to new uses, such as communication and experiential marketing, documentation, training and education.

Learning by doing in a virtual world also provides a better retention of information. For instance, in the medical sector, living a 3D Experience as a virtual patient helps ones understand how to treat others more efficiently. The gamification of the situation also transforms the learning dynamics, promote team spirit and competition between users.

Digitalized medical equipment and 3D assets behave like their real-life versions. They provide relative-time learning experiences and leverage the abilities of an effective teacher. They do not replace the physical version but let an unlimited number of users play and replay actions, grow and perform in a hostile environment, act on a virtual patient, etc.”

Learn more at Born To Be Alive’s English Translated Website!

Sponsored Advertisement:

Mindful Debriefing: An Intensive Experiential Workshop Feb. 27 at GIST in Exton, PA


From our good friends Tony Errichetti and Laurie Schroeder of Simulation Studio and NYIT’s Simulation Masters Program comes this awesome workshop hosted by Education Management Solutions Educational Partner Global Institute for Simulation Training: Mindful Debriefing: An Intensive Experiential Workshop!

When & Where:

Friday, February 27, 2015 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM (EST) Exton, PA. Sign up here!


Tony Errichetti, PhD and Laurie Schroeder, MA – Simulation Studio Co-Directors
and Mary Catherine Donnelly, BS – Experiential Workshop Leader.

Mindful Debriefing: 

Debriefing is an indispensable tool of simulation training. It is also one of the most challenging skills to master, requiring the ability to deconstruct events and provide concrete, timely feedback. Mindful debriefing means paying attention to the one being debriefed in a purposeful way, avoiding prescriptive feedback and empathically exploring the learner’s perspective.

This 6-hour intensive experiential workshop, with its focus on simulated / standardized patient (SP) education, will prepare you to practice mindful debriefing by starting with a self-guided inventory of how you perceive others, utilize your skills and make decisions about what to debrief.  You will learn the steps of mindful debriefing and practice with SPs and learners. Implications for how this approach can be applied to team-based simulations will be discussed.

Pre-Workshop Preparation

To help you prepare for this course, attendees will need to take two free public domain personality inventories: The Jung Typology Test based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Five Factor Mindfulness Questionnaire. Links to these inventories will be sent after registration. These inventories will help you understand how you perceive learners (whether SP debriefers or learners) and make decisions about what to debrief.

Suggested readings for the workshop will be supplied.

Workshop Learning Modules

  • Understanding psychological type and debriefing preferences – An overview of what we’ve learned about human factors in debriefing
  • Interaction analysis exercise – Participant microanalysis of a short SP encounter to demonstrate the individual variability of perception
  • Review of the “mindful debriefing” model – Learner self-assessment, deciding what to debrief, understanding the learner’s frame of reference and making timely suggestions and adjustments
  • Practice mindful debriefing with learners –Practice mindful debriefing with simulated learners
  • Debriefing the debriefer – Mindful debriefing when coaching SPs who debrief
  • Implications for team-based debriefing – A systems perspective on

Who Should Attend?

Anyone who debriefs learners (e.g. educators, SPs) or teaches the debriefing process (e.g. SP educators / trainers).


13 Early-Bird Registrations Remain at $255

Sign Yourself up at the Event Homepage!

There’s Always New Medical Simulation Jobs Listed on HealthySimulation.com!

healthcare simulation jobs

Here’s three new jobs just posted this week on HealthySimulation.com’s famous Medical Simulation Jobs Page!

Looking for Simulation Technology Specialist, Simulation Clinical Educator, Simulation Operations Management, or Healthcare Simulation Program Director Positions? HealthySimulation has them all!

Three New Positions This Week Alone:

  • The University of Iowa College of Nursing – Director of Simulation Education in the Nursing Clinical Education Center (NCEC). Iowa City, IA
  • Mount Saint Mary’s University – Simulation Operations Manager, Los Angeles CA
  • University of Alabama in Huntsville – Healthcare Simulation Technician, Huntsville AL

Have a position to post? It’s free for simulation programs! Learn about all this and more on our Medical Simulation Jobs Page!

TeamSim From Surgical Science Enables Inter-Professional Training Opportunities


Recent news over the Newswire about TeamSim, from Surgical Science:

Surgical Science, leading developer of virtual reality surgical simulation training systems, has announced the launch of TeamSim, a complete inter-professional education training system. Available today, this innovative new offering provides surgical teams with a faster, safer way to develop and perfect team-based, non-technical skills.

“While innovations in laparoscopic surgical simulators have made an incredible impact on individualized training, we noted there was a gap between the experience of a single professional standing at the simulator and stepping into a collaborative OR staffed with multiple team members,” said Tony Rubin, vice president of Surgical Science. “TeamSim erases that gap by giving the whole OR team the opportunity to practice and refine their communication and non-technical skills without any patient risk. The result is a better prepared, more synchronized and safer surgical team.”

Using the validated, industry-leading virtual reality training system LapSim, the new TeamSim package features fully customizable laparoscopic training scenarios and complications. Instructors can continually challenge a team’s evolving training needs through pre-planned or spontaneously changing, remotely controlled virtual patients. The lightweight, portable unit allows team-based training in the OR, in situ or at off-site training events.

“With TeamSim, hospitals now have the ability to ensure that their surgical teams have the ability to effectively and efficiently respond to both routine and crisis scenarios from the very first procedure,” said Tomas Ragnarsson, managing director of Surgical Science. “We’re proud that TeamSim is helping to drive this new era of complete OR collaboration and learning.”

As a completely modular system, TeamSim may be purchased as a complete package or as separate components to complement existing training equipment. Learn more about TeamSim and how to purchase by contacting Surgical Science at info@surgical-science.com

About Surgical Science:

Surgical Science, established in 1999, develops high quality tools for the Assessment, Training and Certification of medical professionals. Using Virtual Reality simulation technologies, users are able to build skills on Surgical Science simulators that demonstrate and transfer proficiency from virtual reality to the operating suites. Surgical Science’s world headquarters are in Gothenburg (Sweden) with the Americas headquarters in Minneapolis, MN and offices in Mexico City (Latin America) and Toronto (Canada).

Learn more About TeamSim on the Surgical Science Homepage!

SoloShot2 Camera Attachment Tracks Participants Automatically

automatic tracking of video participant

What if our Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ) cameras could track simulation participants automatically — freeing us as facilitators or sim techs to spend more time focusing on operating the manikin, speaking as the voice of the patient, or analyzing the learner’s performance? Recently I was sent this video of the SoloShot2 that automatically tracks an Radio Frequency (RF) tag which you wear, so that the camera automatically follows the action! This unit is currently limited to outdoor use but the implications for our high-fidelity simulation labs are strong! Have you or anyone you know worked on creating automatic camera tracking in your simulation labs? I would love to hear all about it!

About the SoloShot:

Attach the device to your tripod, and your camera to the device. Wear the Tag and video yourself from up to 2000 feet away!

Like most rad products, SOLOSHOT began as a solution to a problem. When the waves come up, everyone wants to be in the water. It’s hard to find someone to stand on the beach pointing a camera for hours even though that’s usually the best angle to shoot from. You really need a dedicated, skilled cameraman who is always at the ready to get the kind of high quality footage that professionals use to train or share with the world.

Even though SOLOSHOT started as a way for surfers to finally get that perspective shot they craved, the product has really taken off in all kinds of communities where the participants really want that angle that previously could only be captured by a dedicated professional cameraman. It’s pretty great to see random videos of rugby and soccer and even dog training and RC flying. When you think about it, you can set up a SOLOSHOT on the sidelines and get hours of super high quality footage of your practice, EVERY practice. The impact this kind of product will have on the careers of striving action and field sports athletes is already significant and we have only just begun to scratch the surface.

SoloShot2 Specs:

Pan: 360° at 80° per second continuously in both directions
Tilt: 150° of vertical tracking at 35° per second
Battery: Up to 8 Hours of internal battery rechargeable using supplied USB cord
Accessory Port: For adding features such as camera control and charging Tags
Feedback: Long range directional Green LED for tracking feedback
Security: K-Lock socket for locking camera to Base unit, Tool for secure attachment to attachment to tripod which may be locked to a fixed object using a standard bike lock.

Get the SoloShot2 through Amazon and Visit the SoloShot Website for more info!

Featured Advertisement:

Finding Gold — Why Simulation Leads to Better Team Members


Today an interesting article from outside the specific frame of medical simulation by Lee Colan on Inc.com with his work Why Engaging Leaders Coach Now vs. Pay Later. This article is a great reminder that we as simulation champions enable others to bring out their best not by simply telling them what to do, or showing them what to do — but by having them actually do what they are going to do! Consider Andrew Carnegie:

“A reporter asked Carnegie how he had hired 43 millionaires. Carnegie responded that those men had not been millionaires when they started working for him but had become millionaires as a result.

The reporter’s next question was, “How did you develop these men to become so valuable to you that you have paid them this much money?” Carnegie replied that men are developed the same way gold is mined. When gold is mined, several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold, but one doesn’t go into the mine looking for dirt–one goes in looking for the gold.

Some leaders find themselves sitting on a mountain of gold, and yet they feel poor because they don’t know how to mine the gold from their teams. Coaching is how we mine our team’s gold.

The coaching challenge in today’s mega-busy workplace is that people only remember 20 percent of what they hear. And if those people are teenagers, you can divide that number in half!

As the retention scale below illustrates, inspiring extraordinary results requires just a little extra time and effort. People generally remember:

  • 90% of what we both say and do (simulating the real thing, doing the real thing)
  • 70% of what we say (participating in a discussion, giving a talk)
  • 50% of what we hear and see (watching a movie, looking at an exhibit, watching a demonstration)
  • 30% of what we see (looking at pictures)
  • 20% of what we hear (instructions)
  • 10% of what we read (memos, books)

Coaching is a pay-me-now or pay-me-later leadership proposition. Take a shortcut and you will be saying the same thing to the same team member next week–no fun for either of you. Do it correctly, and you inspire higher performance and competence … and competence builds confidence. Team confidence is a vital asset for any leader who wants to elevate performance.

Read the full article on Inc.com for Action Questions and more insights!

The Difference Between Gamification and Game-Based Learning

Just saw this awesome Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development ACSD.org article by Steven Isaacs entitled “The Difference Between Gamification And Game-Based Learning” today and thought it could help expand our nomenclature. Here’s a snippet but you should read the full article!

“Do you incorporate game-based learning into your curriculum? Gamification and game-based learning have become buzzwords in education yet some general confusion still exists regarding what each is and what each is not. I would love to clear up any misconceptions.


Gamification is the idea of adding game elements to a nongame situation. Corporate reward programs are a good example. They reward users for certain behaviors. Starbucks has done a fine job of getting me to spend more money through their rewards program. It’s not the most sophisticated form of gamification, but I am rewarded for making purchases and can earn extra levels by earning stars based on the program structure. Programs like this have added a scoring game mechanic to commerce. In the classroom, gamification has been integrated in a more authentic manner as some classrooms have become a living, breathing game. Gamification systems like ClassCraft add an adventure game layer on top of the existing course infrastructure. Students create a character, play as part of a team, and earn experience points and rewards based on class-related behaviors. Students are rewarded for helping other students, producing exemplary work, etcetera. Likewise, students can receive consequences for behaviors that are inconsistent with the desired the learning environment.

Game-Based Learning

Unlike gamification, game-based learning relates to the use of games to enhance the learning experience. Educators have been using games in the classroom for years. One of my fondest memories of school was the stock market game we played in one of my high school social studies courses. I learned so much about the stock market by investing with my fantasy portfolio. In fact, as a result of this project, I invested my own money (and encouraged my parents and grandmother to do the same) in Colecovision back in the 1980s. The stock soared after our initial investment and my family cashed in. I don’t think learning gets more authentic than that!

John Hunter has received a lot of positive attention for his game, the World Peace Game, which he has been playing with his 4th graders. Others have used his game or adapted it to suit the content of their curriculum. This is a wonderful example of a nondigital game created by a teacher to enhance the learning experience of students. In the digital sphere, game-based learning has seen quite a boom in recent years.”

acsd article

Read the full article on ASCD.org!