NBC News: The Promise of Virtual Reality is Starting to Look Very Real

oculus rift healthcare simulation

On NBC News Online Michael Sheetz just released this article saying that “The Promise of Virtual Reality is Starting to Look Very Real”. VR will be a huge component of healthcare simulation in the next decade, so check out this article which provides a great recap of currently available technologies and applications!

NBC News Article Excerpt:

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Only a handful of virtual reality headsets existed when Alphabet unveiled Google Glass, but the past half-decade has seen billions invested in VR, moving a technology once thought of as a gimmick much closer to the everyday lives of real people. Virtual reality companies raised $1.46 billion in venture capital from the start of 2012 through the third quarter this year, according to CB Insights, marking four straight quarters that these start-ups reached $100 million-plus in funding. Since 2010, these firms have raised $3.9 billion, according to PitchBook.

“There is always a richer and more immersive medium,” Zuckerberg said. “The next logical step is fully immersive VR,” Zuckerberg told developers. He described the early days as “just a 360 video,” adding, “In the future you’re going to feel like you’re right there.”

Facebook’s Oculus virtual reality platform recently unveiled lower-cost hardware and a slew of media partnerships that aim to bring the technology to the mainstream — its debut is slated for the first quarter of 2016. While hard-core gamers wait for the Oculus Rift to launch for use with PCs, many consumers were anxious to get their hands on the consumer version of the Samsung Gear VR, which went on sale for $99 in November, half the price of the headset last year. It sold out on eBay and Amazon in a matter of days.

Read the full VR Article on NBCNews.com!

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August 22nd-24th Healthcare Education Assessment Training & Technology (HEATT) Conference EXTENDS Early-Bird Rates!

After the SimGHOSTS 2014 USA (August 5th-8th) simulation technician training event, I will be speaking at HEATT 2014 alongside SimGHOSTS President James Cypert on the topic of ‘technician’s behind the technology’. If you are a healthcare educator, administrator, innovator or entrepreneur, I highly recommend this new unique learning event, put on by groups that leaders in aviation simulation training conferences worldwide! Best of all, I heard this morning that early-bird registration has been extended so you can still sign up for a discounted rate!

Act Now! Early-bird rates for this year’s Healthcare Education Assessment Training & Technology (HEATT) Conference HAVE BEEN EXTENDED – REGISTER TODAY!

Human performance is the single most important contributor to quality (and safety). Regardless of the spend on buildings, equipment, catering and the countless other contributors to ‘quality,’ whenever carers are not trained adequately standards of work could decline and all other investment is wasted. HEATT 2014 has a strong three-day program addressing the need for a renaissance in healthcare training, taking a closer look at modern education and training techniques, including simulation, that can make a huge difference to safety as it has in other high risk industries.

Discussion topics include:

  • The Business of Healthcare
  • The Future of Healthcare
  • Intersections: Healthcare Innovation through Simulation and Engineering
  • The Curricula Revolution in Medical Schools
  • Developing a Nurse Practitioner Simulation Program
  • Graduate Medical Education Federal Funding: CMS and HRSA
  • Surgical Simulation
  • How Can Simulation Centers Transform Healthcare?
  • Fundamentals of Robotic Surgery Curriculum Development
  • Using Audio-Based Simulation to Impact Kirkpatrick Level 4 Learning Results
  • And much more!

To view the complete program and a list of confirmed speakers click here.




Simulated A.I. From “Her” Demonstrates Our Future Technology

simulated ai

As a film-maker I truly believe that good science fiction captures the collective psyche of a generation’s imaginations about the future. That being said I thought it would be interesting for healthcare simulation champions to consider the simulated Artificial Intelligence (AI) that Spike Jonze created in his latest Academy Award Nominated picture “Her”. The picture takes place in the not-to-distant future, when protagonist Theodore installs a new “OS” marketed as “unique as its user”, replacing his robotic sounding Google Glass-esk personal assistant who had previously read his emails and set his schedules. Now, the new simulated AI takes on the name of Samantha, who continues to learn every second she exists.

In the first moments of the trailer we get to see Samantha come to life as she meets Theodore for the first time.

The personality of Samantha quickly develops as she explores the web, engages in conversation with Theodore, and watches the world around her through a video camera phone. The speed at which she learns is quite amazing to watch unfold, as Samantha reads all of Theodore’s previous written works and selects the “best of” content which she secretly ships to a famous publisher.  As the relationship evolves Theodore and Samantha become closer and even begin to date, which is hinted in the trailer above.

Why I believe this has so much merit to medical simulation is the reality that eventually, access to such simulated AI will not be “sci fi”, but in fact the norm. Healthcare educators will be able to program patients with a certain set of boundaries and allow the scenario to run itself — knowing that the AI can handle any and all possible questions posed by learners, some of which even the educator themselves did not think of. Thus, the continued evolution of medical simulation technology will eventually include the utilization of simulated AI as patients, family members and other healthcare providers.  This coupled with technology such as 3D immersion (which is already here via Oculus Rift) will present new healthcare professionals with the opportunity to experience simulated environments and scenarios with an ever thinning barrier between simulation and reality. I believe that technology will continue to increase its disruption of healthcare and will eventually force the entire system to reform. What changes do you think will result to staffing, educational process, and role responsibilities?

Towards the end of the picture, Samantha connects with other AI’s including one based off of Alan Watts, who collectively decide to leave behind the “slow” relationships with humans in-order to pursue a more efficient future. The picture does not explore what this means for the human race or the new AI collective, leaving that world’s unknown future — unknown. As medical simulation champions are comfortable exploring similar unknowns, we may have to be part of the group that helps the rest of healthcare do the same.

Here are some thoughts by Anthony Carboni of the Discovery Channel on when AI will become a reality (with a lot of interesting links in the youtube comments):

If you are interested in exploring the future of AI in simulation, I recommend this film to adults interested in exploring such human-technology relationships!

Interested in more technologies which will enhance medical simulation? Check out: 

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The future of Healthcare Simulation technology

This video will make your head spin!

Learning Computers

Here’s a fun little article about developing computers than can learn:


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Future of Simulation?

What is the future of Healthcare Simulation technology? Do you think facial expressions would benefit learners?  What about artificial intelligence? Post your thoughts!