McGill University partners with industries to develop VR training tech for spinal surgery training

Samsung Gear VR

McGill University has announced an agreement with CAE Healthcare, DePuy Synthes Prodcts and part of Johnson & John Medical Devices Companies to develop a virtual reality (VR) platform to train orthopedic and neurosurgeons in advanced spinal surgery techniques.

The VR platform will feature a Graphic Processing Unit and Finite Element Method modeling that can create a real life surgical simulation environment. The technology will also use haptic feedback with the possibility of drastically reducing training time for spine surgeons.

A lot of the funding for the project is being provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Quebec Consortium for Industrial Research and Innovation in Medical Technology.

The VR surgical training platform can provide a visual and tactile interface that allows clinicians to interact with surgical tools that connect to haptic controls. According to McGill, this can simulate a complex clinical pathologies and intraoperative challenges. The GPU then delivers real-time feedback and provides sensory experience of an open-spine surgery.

Further, McGill says the use of this technology can provide “improved patient care, superior accuracy, and faster speeds for the surgeon.”

“The development of this novel physics-driven VR platform will be a major milestone in the training of future surgeons and is intended to benefit thousands of spinal patients around the world,” said Professor Mark Driscoll, Faculty of Engineering of McGill University and principal investigator on the project, in a press statement.

“It will also offer significant benefits to the Faculty of Engineering as we deepen our working relationships with world leading companies who are also seeking to advance the state of the art in VR surgical training.”

Source: McGill University