A new concept called the ‘mediverse’ is being developed with the help of tech specialists at the University of South Wales (USW).
Medical training business Goggleminds has come up with the idea – which continues the notion of the ‘metaverse’ – as it develops virtual reality technology for training medics and students.
Goggleminds is run by Cardiff-based entrepreneur, Azize Naji, who has previously worked for the NHS as a health, safety and wellbeing practitioner. The Goggleminds concept mirrors situations that medics are likely to encounter, without the need to have real people on which to test their skills.
“We use the power of virtual reality technology to re-create clinical environments and clinical scenarios to replicate real life,” Mr Naji said. “A doctor or nurse, surgeon, or medical student can test those skills and retain that knowledge, without having to put themselves or patients in danger.”
While Goggleminds looks at developing systems to prepare medics for operating on patients of all ages, the experts at the USW-based Centre of Excellence in Mobile and Emerging Technologies (CEMET) have been working closely with the company to develop a system which focuses specifically on treating children.
“Through the CEMET project we wanted to focus on and hone in on paediatrics,” Mr Naji said. “When specialists are learning about treating children there are more challenges than when dealing with adults, such as consent, ethics, and whether we want to put children through any possible trauma. Essentially, we’ve addressed these challenges and are aiming to make it a positive experience for those learning those skills.”
Goggleminds is already working with a number of healthcare professionals and medical students in NHS providers and Universities, in England and Wales, and has created a library of simulations. It is from here that the idea of the ‘mediverse’ was born.
“You might have heard of ‘metaverse’ – a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users – and we’ve taken it one step further with the ‘mediverse’,” Mr Naji said. “It's a medical digital platform to allow healthcare professionals and medical students to learn and connect with one another nationally and internationally.”
The new concept is one that CEMET has been supporting through the development of the training tool.
Daniel Powell, Analyst Developer at CEMET, explained: “We created a scenario allowing a student and teacher to enter a virtual hospital room equipped with all the tools needed for a tracheotomy.
“The student can complete guided training or a test, during which they can interact with the tools they need during the procedure. They can also learn how the patient could respond during the procedure, such as becoming pale or their heart rate slowing. At the end they are shown the results and hints for a better performance.”
CEMET enables eligible SMEs to access funded collaborative research & development via a three-stage R&D process, which transforms an innovative idea into a high-quality product. The process ensures that entrepreneurs are best placed to capitalise on the collaboration, with the aim of stimulating business growth.
CEMET is based at the University of South Wales, within the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science, and is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Welsh Government.