A virtual reality programme could hold the key to saving the lives of thousands of Australians
- Virtual reality programme could hold the key to saving thousands of lives
- Programme looks like a game but is designed to train paramedics
- Catastrophic emergencies such as terrorist attacks are covered in programme
A virtual reality programme could hold the key to saving the lives of thousands of Australians.
The programme might look like a game, but it is designed to prepare paramedics for the life-or-death decisions they will have to make while working.
Developed at Edith Cowan University in Perth, the programme immerses paramedics in scenarios they could face on the job - including catastrophic emergencies such as terrorist attacks or natural disasters.
Without the virtual reality technology, paramedic training is costly and requires dozens of volunteers to act out scenarios.
But with the virtual reality system you don't need real life props or volunteer actors — just a virtual reality system and software that runs the application.
Doctor Brennen Mills, who developed the software, and demonstrated it at XR:WA, a virtual reality convention in Perth, says practical training for paramedics can cost up to $9,000, but with a virtual reality system that can be reduced by more than 90 per cent.
The programme might look like a game, but it is designed to prepare paramedics for the life-or-death decisions they will have to make while working
Due to the high cost of training, many paramedics don't undergo training for mass casualty incidents.
‘These sort of things don’t happen every day, but when they do happen the paramedics that are there need to know what’s going on, because if they don’t it’s going to cost lives’.
The technology is still at a ‘proof of concept’ stage, and despite having spoken to ambulance services across Australia, Doctor Mills believes there’s still some fine tuning needed before rolling it out.
Without the virtual reality technology, paramedic training is costly and requires dozens of volunteers to act out scenarios
Virtual reality: How it's coming to your home in the future - and what it could do
Virtual reality has found its place in entertainment across the country, with it being used for video games, but has also found its way in the design and architecture space for designing rooms and buildings.
However, as this paramedic simulation proves, the system has interesting applications within the health space.
Interest is picking up for virtual reality, with conferences and trade shows hosting the innovative technology, including XR:WA, where the mass casualty program was demonstrated.
Although virtual reality is quite expensive right now, it could be making its way into your home in the near future.
Right now, virtual reality headsets and technology can be bought for playing video games, but there's a range of attachments you can buy for your smart phone to turn it into a virtual reality headset.