NASA Mars Mission Crew Emerges From Yearlong Simulation In Hawaii

simulated mission to mars

A leading force for the use of simulation, NASA just completed a ground-breaking study on the affects of a year long simulated experiment to prepare for a mission to Mars. Have a simulation non-believer in your institution? Share this story below with them to show how high stakes organizations use simulation to learn, improve, train, and test.

One year ago, six volunteers—an astrobiologist, a physicist, a pilot, an architect, a journalist, and a soil scientist — entered a 36-by-20 foot dome, located near a barren volcano in Hawaii, to simulate what living conditions would be like on Mars. This week they re-emerged from their year-long isolation.

“The goal of HI-SEAS is to test what it would be like for people to live on Mars, and what the project designers call “team performance and cohesion” — or how a group of strangers might handle being stuck together for 12 months.

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Asked what she learned about how to cope with living and working with the same five people all the time, Heinicke said emergencies play a surprising role in helping people get along. At one point, for example, the system for gathering and treating water broke. To simulate life on Mars, the team received water and food only every two and four months, respectively. “Obviously, we need water, so we all needed to work on that as a group,” Heinicke recalled.

“If you had some arguments within the group… it really helps to have an emergency to work on together, because everyone has new motivation,” she said. The study designers described the small dome where the crew lived as a “habitat,” writing in a press release: “It is an open concept design that includes common areas such as kitchen, dining, bathroom with shower, lab, exercise, and work spaces. A second floor loft spans an area of 424 square feet and includes six separate bedrooms and a half bath.

In addition, a 160 square foot workshop converted from a 20 foot long steel shipping container is attached to the habitat.” Living in such close quarters is difficult. Asked whether the experience left her with any close friends, Heinicke was diplomatic. “Um, well, three of them I’m definitely going to stay in very close contact with,” she said.”

For us it’s easy to see how NASA has proven the effectiveness of simulation with this, and countless other simulated training programs.

Read articles about the Mars Simulation Mission on Popular MechanicsNPR, BBC, and Gizmodo!

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Does Residency Simulated Training Have an Impact on Patient Outcomes in Robotic Surgery

simulated training

Christopher Simmonds from Mimic Technologies recently shared on LinkedIN some interesting research statistics regarding the patient results from simulated training in surgery.

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Like any new technology, a lot of focus has been placed on ensuring that new users of robotic surgery are adequately trained. Simulation has had a large part to play with this. As the technology has become more mainstream, training requirements have moved from not only training existing surgeons but to ensuring that residents and fellows develop the required skill levels to ensure that they can adapt to the new technologies used in their practice.

Earlier this year we discussed a paper published by the EAU on their curriculum aimed at ensuring that fellows followed a clear curriculum at the end of which they would be deemed to be safe and competent to operate on patients independently. As with many ways of teaching surgery, the procedure is broken into specific steps that the trainee must master before being allowed to carry the whole procedure.

There were no differences in some key clinical outcomes such as positive margins, length of stay, catheter days, readmissions or re-operations when comparing surgeon only to resident –involved cases. There was, however, a difference seen in mean operative time between procedures that were surgeon only cases vs. resident involved (190.4 Min vs. 206.4 Min, P= 0.003)

Read the full article on LinkedIn

NASA Utilizes Simulation Manikins for Crash Tests

nasa simulation test crash test manikins

Today we are sharing the use of simulated manikins by NASA for their crash tests:

Upon re-entry from a deep space mission, NASA’s next generation spacecraft, more commonly known as Orion, will descend under its three main parachutes, swaying in the wind until its final splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. In that brief instant where capsule meets water, astronauts will experience the mission’s greatest deceleration and with that, some of the greatest forces on the human body. That’s where crash-test dummies come into the picture.

Engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, are working to ensure astronauts are uninjured during splashdown by performing water-impact tests of an Orion test capsule with suited crash test dummies inside. “Not only can we learn how the structure reacts to a water impact in these tests, but we can also understand how splashdown loads are transmitted to the seats and crew,” said Mark Baldwin, crew injury lead for Orion prime contractor, Lockheed Martin.

During the most recent drop test, two crash-test dummies wearing modified Advanced Crew Escape System suits were secured in the full-scale capsule. Each dummy was equipped with internal sensors to help engineers quantify the potential for injury. “This gives us a better understanding of localized responses at the head and neck to protect against common impact injuries like concussion and spinal fracture,” Baldwin said.”

Read the full article on NASA’s website!

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Utah Practices Healthcare Response with 1 Million Participants and Massive Casualty Simulation

simulation of earthquake response

Deseret News recently reported about a massive earthquake simulation for Utah response agencies. Almost one million people participated in this simulated event across the state last week at schools, hospitals, civil service departments, and more. What an amazing demonstration to the expanded acceptance of simulation as a primary training method!

Deseret News Article Excerpt:

Link and Hansen were among the nearly 1 million Utahns who participated in the state’s largest earthquake drill to date Thursday, the Great Utah ShakeOut. The statewide drill began at 10:15 a.m. The scenario: The worst natural disaster to ever hit the Salt Lake Valley had struck — a magnitude 7 earthquake.

In reality, the Wasatch Front fault line remained docile, as it has for thousands of years, but still more than 980,000 ducked under desks and chairs to wait for the fictional tremors to subside.

Hospitals, schools, businesses, government offices and others all joined in on the annual drill because of the devastation a major earthquake could have on Utah’s residents, economy and infrastructure. At St. Mark’s, the pretend community casualties were reported at more than 2,000 dead and more than 30,000 injured, said hospital spokeswoman Danielle Wilcox.

To add to the carnage, St. Mark’s simulated the collapse of its west tower, using a utility tunnel under the hospital to challenge search and rescue teams with a dark, enclosed and complicated environment — like a collapsed building — to navigate while trying to find trapped and injured patients. Like Link, other actors pretended to be trapped in rubble. Some needed limb amputations. In other instances, rescuers, guided by K-9 teams, needed to break through concrete walls to reach victims. Outside the hospital, several medical triage tents were set up to treat about 60 acting patients.

Rescue teams also simulated a helicopter crash atop the hospital. Paul VanHarn from the Unified Fire Authority got to practice rappelling the pretend crash victim, David Polonsky, safely to the ground. “When we have an opportunity like this, it’s great for us,” said Unified Fire Authority Capt. Dan Brown. “This training is about as realistic as it can get.”

More than 500 people — including nursing students, hospital staff and volunteers from Urban Search and Rescue, Unified Fire Authority, Unified Police Department and the Utah Health Department — participated in St. Mark’s simulation, said John Jones, emergency preparedness coordinator for MountainStar Healthcare.”

Read the full article on Deseret News!

SimUshare Lets Fire Instructors Go Beyond Imagination With Real Time Fire Effects Over Images & Videos


Recently learned of SimUshare’s Fire Training App, which enables you to add fire and smoke effects to a library of pictures and videos, including the ones you take! I definitely wish we had this app during fire academy, to enable our instructors to help us all be on the same page about what we “imaging” the scenario to be. With real time effects that are completely controllable by the instructor, it is easy to talk about an almost limitless number of simulated fire emergency cases with learners and professionals. I believe the app could also be utilized for pre-planning against possible fire scenarios in difficult locations in your district.

SimUshare Features:

  • Rapid Creation of Sims: SimsUshare’s user-friendly interface can be easily mastered without extensive training. Basic sims can be created in minutes; more elaborate sims might take just a little longer.
  • Fire Effects: SimsUshare comes with a large palette of special effects including eight kinds of smoke and fire, explosions, hazardous materials, a variety of people (characters) and much more.
  • Modify Effect Parameters: Change the volume, velocity, density, and color of smoke and fire. Show the effect of wind direction and speed. Narrow, widen or flip effects.
  • Masking Effects: With simple masking techniques fire and smoke will appear to come from behind or even inside objects for increased realism.
  • Time Sequencing: Make effects appear or disappear over a period of time. Effects can gradually increase in intensity. Create a developing situation.
  • Incident View Navigation: Use the easy navigation tools to move around all sides of a structure or even inside it. Perform 360s and site inspections as if you were on location.
  • Snapshots: Capture a snapshot during an operation. Use it later for incident review, analysis and critical thinking. Project it on a larger screen for group discussion.
  • Import Images: If you can take a picture of it, you can build a custom simulation around it. You can also import ready-made simulations from expert contributors in fire safety and training.
  • Capture Video: Capture video directly from within the app (iOS only currently). Upload files from mobile devices to your department’s training website.
  • Sharing: Copy your simulations to another device or save them to shared folders or Dropbox. Collaborate on specific training projects. (Network Edition only)

The app is available in a variety of formats for different operating systems. Learn more at the SimUshare website today!

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Special Call for Manuscripts – Use of Games as Simulation and Gaming Theory in Simulation

nursing simulation journal

The official INACSL journal: Clinical Simulation in Nursing has a special issue call out for Manuscripts on the “Use of Games as Simulation and Gaming Theory in Simulation”.

We invite health professionals who are exploring the application of gaming theory to simulation and/or using gaming simulation for teaching or evaluation to submit manuscripts for a special issue to be published in January 2016. Eric Bauman PhD, RN and Nicole Harder PhD, RN will serve as the guest editors for this special issue, to be published in January 2016. Manuscripts for consideration should be submitted to Clinical Simulation in Nursing by 1 October, 2015.

When submitting manuscripts for this special issue, please select “special issue” when Clinical Simulation in Nursing is the flagship journal of the International Association of Clinical Simulation and Learning. The journal provides a forum for research, innovation, review, and debate in simulation. The journal is dedicated to the advancement of simulation as an educational strategy to improve patient care. A double blind peer-review process is used for all submissions.

You can submit at:


Recent News Regarding Virtual Simulation Learning Environments

Previously has covered various innovations in virtual reality training departments like the MODSim birthing room simulator and these Industrial Plant Simulators. Today we learn about a few new virtual environment training projects already working in training programs:

At THE VOID you will walk into new dimensions and experience worlds without limits. From fighting intergalactic wars on alien planets, to casting spells in the darkest of dungeons, THE VOID presents the future of entertainment. Only limited by imagination, our advanced Virtual-Reality technologies allow you to see, move, and feel our digital worlds in a completely immersive and realistic way.

Learn more at:


MURSION is the virtual training environment, where professionals rehearse and master the essential interpersonal skil ls required to be effective in high-stakes careers. Mursion offers educators unl imited opportunities to practice their craft. Teachers can rehearse a questioning strategy, try out routines to better manage their classroom, or practice the introduction of a challenging concept to simulated student s who mimic the actual behaviors and learning styles of student s in their class. Learn more at:


USMC 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, confront avatars, or virtual humans, while clearing a room at the Office of Naval Research Infantry Immersion Trainer (IIT) located at the I Marine Expeditionary Force Battle Simulation Center at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. “For a long while a lot of the simulators out there provided a great capability but weren’t necessarily linked to training and readiness standards, and that’s where a lot of this effort is currently underway to look at that,” Adams said. To that end, the Marines are launching a massive effort at Camp Lejeune, N.C. this month to assess more than 20 warfighting areas to ensure the simulators available match the requirements laid out in the training and readiness (T&R) manuals.

Learn more at:


Clemson virtual training program gets $3M in federal funding. Virtual reality work being undertaken by Clemson University is getting a boost from a $3 million National Science Foundation grant. Clemson’s Center for Aviation and Automotive Technological Education Using Virtual E-School, along with technical colleges around the state, will use the grant to advance the talent pipeline in aerospace, automotive and advanced manufacturing. Collaborators include S.C. Advanced Technological Education, Greenville Technical College, Florence-Darlington Technical College and Spartanburg Community College.

Learn more at:

Simulated Wireless Nurse Call System from Pocket Nurse

nurse call system simulation lab

Starting off this non-simulated work week is another great product available now from Pocket Nurse – a simulated Nurse Wireless Call System which you can add to your lab! Have you used this product before? Rate it on!

About the Nurse call System:

Pocket Nurse® Wireless Nurse Call System supports up to 48 wireless emergency call stations, pendants or devices and is widely used in clinics  now available for your simulation lab.  Sim Labs can be equipped with wireless flush mounted stations to teach the importance of patient safety.

Now you can integrate a realistic call system into your scenario development with the Pocket Nurse® Simulated Wireless Nurse Call System.

Standard Features include:

  • Easy Installation
  • Superior Wireless Range
  • Easy User Programming
  • LCD Display
  • Alarm Call Reset
  • Replaceable Long-Life Battery
  • 900 MHz spread spectrum technology
  • Six relays for connectivity
  • Alarm calls reset at the source Wrist Pendant
  • LCD alarm display
  • Plug and play installation
  • Supports up to 48 transmitters
  • Upgradeable to 65,000 transmitters

Standard Package includes:

  • Single bed station with call placed LED
  • Call cancel button, transmitter, and batteries
  • Also includes 5 bed station call cords with IEA standard 1/4” jack (8’ length)
  • 1 emergency pull station with embeded transmitter, battery, reed switch, and gasket for installation in wet areas
  • Additional transmitters may be purchased separately

Learn more at the Nurse Call System Page on!

Luna Innovations Provides TrueClot Blood Simulant


Luna Innovations reached out to HealthySim recently to let our community know about their awesome simulated blood moulage products:

TrueClot is currently for sale and in use by military combat medical trainers, medical and Police, Fire and EMSprofessionals across the country. We’ve also started selling internationally as well. Our TrueClot Blood Simulant Concentrate can be reconstituted in water by the end user and our Task Trainer Kits are designed to be used in wound packing and advanced hemostatic gauze (such as QuikClot) training and simulation scenarios. Our Simulated Hemostatic Gauze is made using the same gauze material Z-medica uses to manufacture QuikClot and CombatGauze. Additionally, TrueClot launders from clothing and washes from skin with soap and water. As you can see in the video, you can also make instant simulated blood clots for moulage as well. One of our Fire Department customers uses the clots to simulate avulsed tissue as well simply by squeezing the water from the clots and applying it to a manikin. We also expect TrueClot to be approved for use on several advanced manikin simulators and the product is currently being tested by several advanced trauma manikin manufacturers with excellent results.”

 Check out this video below to see TrueClot in action:

Purchasable now are blood simulants (sold by the gallon), clotting agents, and Hemostatic Gauze. You can event get a sample kit for only $25!

LUNA’s TrueClot Blood Simulant is a highly realistic simulated clotting blood for use in realistic trauma and hemorrhage control training.  Realistic clotting for combat wound packing and hemorrhage control training can be achieved using our Simulated Hemostatic Gauze in a task trainer or hemorrhage simulator.  Simulated clots for moulage or surgical training can be created using TrueClotTM Blood Simulant and our liquid Clotting Solution.


TrueClot Blood Simulant is safe and non-hazardous, washes from skin and clothing with soap and water and can be disposed of in regular trash.  The simulated blood will not clot unless it comes in contact with our Simulated Hemostatic Gauze or Clotting Solution and is stable for 6-12 months if stored at room temperature.

Note: I have a question out to their representatives regarding tested use of this simulant with manikin products. I will update this article with the response when received.


For now, you can learn all about Trueclot at Luna’s Website!

My Smart Healthcare Provides “Tactile VR” Simulator

*Update* – My Smart Healthcare has Continued to Evolve and Grow its Product Base and as such this article from 2012 is now out-of-date. Stay tuned to the front page of HealthySim for more news coming soon!

Recently I learned about the “tactile vr” Haptics Simulator from  Currently, there are  only a handful of computerized haptic-based training products available in the medical education market and so tactile vr is definitely worthy of further investigation. Especially because tactile vr is  one of the only devices which is accredited – and can help to provide your staff with CMEs and CEUs.  The website explains that  “the tactile vr™ simulator suite offers a blended learning solution that combines eLearning with a 3D haptic desktop simulator for healthcare professionals.”  The device is capable of educating/training individuals in the following procedures:

  • Peripheral IV Insertion
  • Urinary Catheterization
  • Central Venous Catheterization

Check out Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare’s article Getting A Feel for Better Infection Control which featured the tactile vr.  The article reminds us that haptics and advanced 3D computer-based training simulators like the tactile vr can combine both cognitive and kinesthetic learning and still provide an objective evaluation….[while] achieving life-like realism”.  Learn more about the tactile vr and be sure to check out mySmartHealthcare ‘s helpful blog!

We utilized a different IV-Simulator at the Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas for UNLV’s Level 1 Nursing students.  The feedback was that these devices help students gain an additional step of “simulation” between theory and practice without the use of an expensive full-bodied high-fidelity manikin.

Have you used or purchased a tactile vr from  Let us know your thoughts by emailing Lance!