London-based FundamentalVR aims to revolutionize how surgeons learn their craft using a VR headset and a stylus. The first medical VR simulation tackles injecting a drug during a knee replacement surgery to provide post-operative pain relief. It will be introduced in several US hospitals in the coming months.
While the VR goggles visualize the operating room environment, the stylus can gives haptic feedback to recreate the feel of different layers of tissue. This is achieved by the motors in the stylus exerting more resistance depending on the layer the virtual syringe is pushing against, be it skin, muscle or bone.
Future doctors also get a feedback on how they performed after the exercise is over. A special algorithm compares how they did to the ideal injection pattern and gives them a special score based on how they have administered the drug.
The experience uses HTC Vive and other off-the-shelf equipment, with the total hardware expenses estimated at 5,000 British pounds, making it more affordable than other professional simulators. The company is currently working on other VR experiences simulating various operating situations, in addition to experimenting with other hardware options, most notably Microsoft’s HoloLens.