Why We Use Mixed Reality

A little while ago, I wrote a post discussing the different approaches to computer generated simulation (VR, AR and MR). Each approach has its advantages, but we think that for medical simulation, Mixed Reality (MR) is the way of the future.

Our focus at MedCognition is to bring affordable, portable and realistic simulation to our users. Our implementation of Microsoft’s HoloLens Mixed Reality technology allows to us rapidly deploy high-quality simulation in nearly any environment in just a few minutes. PerSim™ can be used in an ambulance, roadside, in a classroom — nearly any environment medical professionals practice. Weighing in at approximately 20 pounds, mixed reality technology allows us to deliver one of the most portable patient simulators available today.

However, where mixed reality really shines is in realism. We have put in considerable effort into making sure our animations provide highly realistic depiction of patients with various medical conditions.  However, ensuring the environment is realistic is another, important part of the puzzle.  The more realistic the simulation, the easier it is for the student to “suspend disbelief.” This suspension of disbelief actually helps with learning.  If the learner spends less cognitive effort dealing with a less-than-realistic simulation, they are able to place more effort into the actual learning objectives.

 Ever seen pictures of those airline simulators — you know the ones the airlines use to train their pilots?  Those multi-million dollar simulators look, behave and move like the real thing. In fact, the Air Force’s $339-million F-22 Raptor fighter does not have a two seat version. A pilot’s first flight is a solo, but only after many hours at the controls of a high-fidelity simulator. However, that sort of approach isn’t feasible for medicine.  The cost is too high (imagine a $1 million ambulance simulator!), and it isn’t portable.  Plus, every ambulance service has subtle differences in how they configure their rigs.

That’s where portable mixed reality comes in. With the PerSim™ you have high-quality simulation in your ambulance where you can learn the limitations of how it’s configured. Is the monitor out of reach while doing compressions?  Does it take two hands to open the drawer and grab some tape?  You can’t answer those questions in a virtual simulator or in a simulation center. 

Mixed reality has allowed us to bring you a simulator that is affordable, portable and realistic. That realism isn’t just a collection of awesome animations, but also in where you can use it — nearly any operational environment. This combination allows for nearly limitless training scenarios, enhancing the training opportunities and allowing pre-hospital professionals to train more realistically and prepare to provide the best possible medical care.