Problems in VR medical training using basic input methods, i.e. controllers

VR training for hands-on medical procedures is becoming more important and popular within government and enterprise organizations because of its immersive capabilities and its low cost of deployment at scale. It allows trainees to experience dangerous scenarios that are often too cost-prohibitive or risky to practice in real life. As medical professionals become more dependent on VR training solutions, they are quickly discovering the limitations with the standard input methods for VR, i.e. controller wands and vibrating “data gloves.” These input devices do not provide a realistic sense of touch, more specifically pressure and resistance, to fully immerse users in the simulation.

Our Client & Challenge

The United States Army is one of the largest users of VR training in the world because of its large size and vast array of ever changing objectives and technologies. They are constantly developing new applications for immersive training. Our client, Engineering & Computer Simulations, Inc (ECS) holds a contract from the United States Army “to provide enhanced Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) military medical training in a virtual reality (VR) simulation with haptic feedback in order to deliver a more comprehensive training experience with a realistic sense of touch and intuitive interactions.” According to ECS website, “By using haptics gloves and a headset in VR, users experience virtual simulations with realistic touch and natural interactions in order to undergo more fluid and complete training scenarios.”

In their efforts to provide the United States Army with a comprehensive evaluation of game-changing haptic solutions, ECS asked us to provide them with a fully functional demonstration of our gloves in their enhanced TC3Sim. More info on TC3Sim here.

The Hands-On Solution

VRgluv’s internal simulation team created a custom integration between our haptic gloves and a specific module from the TC3Sim, built in the Unity game development engine. The training module teaches soldiers how to perform a blood sweep procedure in order to identify a teammate's injuries so he can receive the appropriate care. The procedure requires that users move the body to feel each limb and section, requiring a sense of touch and maximum range of motion within VR.

In order to deliver a solution to this training scenario, we developed multiple new hands-on interactions with VRgluv patent-pending haptics. Users can wear our gloves to navigate through the in-game UI and manipulate a physics-based body. As users touch and grab the virtual body, the gloves apply resistance to the fingers so they can feel and squeeze the different size and shapes of the torso and limbs. Since our haptic gloves are fully wireless, users can reach and assess each portion of the casualty’s body from head to toe in a fast-paced scenario.

We demonstrated the experience to hundreds of Training & Simulation industry experts at I/ITSEC 2019 in Orlando, Florida.

ECS booth IITSEC orlando mayor
Waymon Armstrong, CEO of ECS
& Buddy Dyer, mayor of Orlando wearing VRgluvs
at I/ITSEC. Photo courtesy of ECS

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