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SNUBH offers remote surgical training through 3D avatar

Choi Gwang-seok  Published 2020.07.06  15:58  Updated 2020.07.06 15:58

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Seoul National University Bundang Hospital (SNUBH)’s Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery Department on Friday offered a live surgery using eXtended Reality (XR) for the Asian Society for Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery (ASCVTS)’s Asia Thoracoscopic Surgery Education Program (ATEP).

The medical training platform, called XR Class, allows teachers and learners to access a virtual class from anywhere in real-time. The technology was created by VR content developer Thirteenth Floor.

SNUBH conducted a study with the company to test the platform’s safety and usefulness jointly with Singapore National University Hospital and Manchester Royal Infirmary in the U.K. throughout June.

Based on the result of the study, SNUBH used the platform for Vietnamese thoracic surgeons at the ATEP’s 5th Outreach Program. SNUBH shared the operation in real-time and provided lectures and discussions by leading surgeons in eight countries, including Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and the U.K., also in real-time.

The hospital said it was the world’s first XR class for surgical training.

XR Class allows up to 43 people to access a virtual lecture simultaneously. With the help of 3D XR Immersive Sound technology, the platform enables participants to have seamless, high-quality voice conversations.

An instructor and medical trainees should wear Head Mounted Display (HMD) in a place where Wi-Fi is available, set an avatar for each role, and put in the assigned classroom code. Then, they can enter the virtual classroom and the operating room.

Seoul National University Bundang Hospital performed a live surgery using eXtended Reality for a medical training program on Friday. (SNUBH)

At the live surgery, the participants will see three monitors in front of them. One of them shows the surgical view in 3D images, another, the surgical team’s instrument operation, and the other, a view on the surgeon and nurses through a 360-degree 8K VR camera. The 3D views provide an environment that looks like a visit to a real operating room.

SNUBH Professor Cho Suk-ki, who performed the live surgery, said conventional live operations had limitations.

“Even if you operated with a 3D camera in the operating room, the recipients of the images could only see it in 2D, and they could not see anything other than the provided images,” he said. “However, using this platform, he could see the actual operating room on a 360-degree 3D screen with just the slightest turn of his head.”

As trainees can closely watch the surgical site and the process they want to see from various angles, the platform makes it very immersive for them, Cho added.

cks@docdocdoc.co.kr

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