December 20, 2018By Lance Baily

Latest Innovations That Will One Day Affect Healthcare Simulation

While healthcare simulation can be accomplished without the latest high-fidelity manikin or a/v recording system, the prevelance of innovative technologies in the field is obvious. Today then, we share a few of the latest “wow” technologies that we think will one day have massive relevance to medical simulation, increasing realism and improving learning outcomes. From a sneak peak at Disney’s latest animatronics to walkable environments for VR simulations, and from realistic looking synthetic images of humans for patient cases to the highest resolution cameras and TVs — the future of simulation is going to be awesome!

Nvidia Generative Adversarial Network Creates Realistic Human Faces

According to Nvidia, its GAN is built around a concept called “style transfer.” Rather than trying to copy and paste elements of different faces into a frankenperson, the system analyzes three basic styles — coarse, middle, and fine styles — and merges them transparently into something completely new. Coarse styles include parameters such as pose, the face’s shape, or the hair style. Middle styles include facial features, like the shape of the nose, cheeks, or mouth. Finally, fine styles affect the color of the face’s features like skin and hair. According to the scientists, the generator is “capable of separating inconsequential variation from high-level attributes” too, in order to eliminate noise that is irrelevant for the new synthetic face.

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Perhaps such innovative algorithms could also be used to create unique patient learning presentations, taking a series of cases and meshing them together through algorithm to create unique patient cases every time? Maybe in the future, not even the educator themselves could be prepared for, but include post-simulation debriefing notes tied to the randomly generated patient case?

DisneyLand Japan is Getting the Latest Animatronics – Making Robots Look Real

Disney’s Imagineers — the company’s term for the artists, designers, and engineers who create its theme park attractions — are about to revolutionise the art of turning the studio’s animated films into rides that bring visitors right into the movie. Tokyo Disneyland is in the process of building a Beauty and the Beast ride with animatronic characters that are like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast will be a dark ride, where visitors sit in vehicles that carry them through a series of animated vignettes recreating scenes from the classic Disney animated film.

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The actual vehicles will be giant teacups that can navigate autonomously without the need for a track, allowing them to follow unique paths and even repetitively circle a room, which is a technology that has become incredibly popular in the company’s overseas theme parks. The Beauty and the Beast ride will even let visitors dance along with Belle and the Beast in the movie’s much-loved ballroom scene, which will undoubtedly be one of the ride’s highlights.

Such animated robotics could have serious potential in healthcare simulation, further blurring the worlds between real and simulated patient. The more realistic a patient presentation is, the more learners will buy into the realism of the simulation — and the better the learning outcomes could theoretically become. Certainly in aviation, advances in simulation technology like hydraulic motion and higher resolution screens have lead to better performance outcomes from when they first started.

Omni Directional Floors for More Immersive VR Simulated Experiences

One of the limitations of VR is that you are stuck walking within a 10×10 foot space. Well what if the environment “moved” for you? With omnidirectional rollers like the ones shown here from Omnifinity, or these Japanese robot walking tiles that move around you, learners will have the ability to traverse VR spaces while remaining within a specific physical space IRL (thats young person talk for “In Real Life”).

Crafted and engineered in Sweden, The Omnideck is a product from years of innovation. As far as hardware goes The Omnideck is a 4.2m diameter motorized treadmill using 16 wedge shaped modules to create a 360 degree walking area. Combined with the HTC vive (or any other) VR system we use the immersive visualization of the headset and the positional tracking data to control the speed of the rollers driven surface under your feet. However the most important part of The Omnideck is not how it works, but the experience the user has in freedom of movement. This is what creates the ultimate VR experience.

Want to read about more innovative trends in VR that will affect clinical simulation? Check out our recent article Latest Trends in VR, an Expanding Reality for Simulation.

8K Cameras Provide 4X quality of 4K Images

In the distant but visible horizon is 8K cameras which provide four times the quality of 4K recording. Less than 25% of US consumers currently have 4K televisions, but HD is already on the way out as 4K video streaming becomes more prominent each and every month. And beyond that we have the innovator-stage consumers already owning the most expensive 8K systems. How will this affect simulation in healthcare? Higher quality images used in recording and debriefing will provide for better learning outcomes due to increased details in learner actions. From micro facial expression recognition and being able to read small labels while watching from a debriefing room, learners will get a better picture as to the accurate presentation of the simulated experience.

4k vs 8k

8K is a higher resolution standard than 4K, quadrupling the total number of pixels just like 4K did with 1080p. 8K is 7,680 by 4,320 resolution, or approximately 8,000 horizontal pixels. 4K, by contrast, is around 4,000 horizontal pixels at 3,840 by 2,160, and 1080p is around 2,000 horizontal pixels at 1,920 by 1,080. Just as there are twice as many horizontal pixels for each resolution, there are also twice as many vertical pixels. This means each step quadruples the number of pixels, and that 8K has 16 times the number of pixels as 1080p.

Have another new innovative technology you think will apply to Simulation? Email us!

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