Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Simulation Center Expands

The Wide Area Virtual Environment (WAVE) an 8,000 square foot full-scale immersive virtual reality area enables teams of students to use state-of-the-art technologies to conduct clinical and surgical skills training. Students can take part in mass casualty drills, biochemical attacks, and other medical training scenarios by using simulators.

Current simulation systems do not adequately address team training requirements within lifelike environments. WAVE helps to develop an immersive virtual environment by using three vertical screens displaying the environment. This enables an observer standing in the enclosed space to perceive the illusion of being immersed in a 3D environment. Stereoscopic images are displayed using projectors with polarized filters with users wearing lightweight polarized glasses to view the scene in stereo.

This approach differs from systems using computer monitors and head mounted displays in that all members of the team are in physical proximity, but are still able to interact within a virtual space. A scalable, network-based rendering approach permits highly complex scenes to be rendered in real-time with minimal temporal mismatch between displays.

Costing $4 million to build, WAVE is part of the National Capital Area Medical Simulation Center. The Medical Simulation Center is a 20,000 square foot center and operates as part of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. The Center hosts 8,000 simulations each academic year and is open to all medical and nursing students, interns, and residents in the National Capital Area. The Center also provides continuing medical education and training to personnel from other federal and DOD agencies.