Friday, January 18, 2008

Virtual Surgery - is Wii for Me?

It seems there's real push these days for ways to train our future surgeons without having to get their hands wet. By playing a few Nintendo Wii games, surgical residents improved their performance on a laparoscopic simulator compared to their non-practiced counterparts. I'm not sure why practicing with a Wii to improve upon another virtual experience is big news, but hey, I don't make the rules.

But maybe I should try this. After all, it sounds fun. I could stay up all night gaming and come in to the operating room all bleary-eyed, with Wii-tenosinovitis and be unable to pick up my instruments.

And why stop there? Why not simulate all of medicine? I mean we have SimMan and SimBabies. Heck, why not use SimDolls to simulate overcrowded ER's (sorry, I slipped with this one).

But before I go out on a limb and say too many more disparaging comments, there might be some benefits to all of this, if surgical simulators could be developed from a surgeon's perspective. For instance, Johnnie Chung Lee of Carnegie Mellon University's Human-Computer Interaction Institute has demonstrated simple adaptations of the Wii that could be implemented into virtual surgery simulators, like head-tracking, finger tracking, or even manipulating surgical fields with your hands just like manipulating an electronic white-board. Imagine using these ideas with the anatomy of Argosy's Visible Body. Although the tactile look and feel of real surgery will be hard to replicate, the visual experience could be made very dramatic.


Addendum @ 08:30AM 18 Jan 2008: Hmmm. On second thought, now that the video game industry earns $18 billion a year, maybe they're on to something...


Kb said...

I'm convinced I can become a professional bowler or boxer just by whoopin' it up on the Wii -- why not a surgeon too??

;) j/k!

The Little Medic said...

sounds like a good excuse to buy a Wii to me!