There are a lot of companies working on medical apps for VR headsets right now, but they’re mainly designed to work with expensive haptic peripherals or to be sold to hospitals at a high price. Scalpel VR wants to bring realistic surgical training to everyone.
Scalpel VR is developed by Przemyslaw “Kay” Korzeniowski, a postdoc researcher at Imperial College London’s Department of Surgery and Cancer. Instead of state of the art training equipment, the app only requires you own an Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or Windows headset and their respective motion controllers. These tools, in Kay’s mind, are all you need to test your hand at making accurate incisions.
You can check out his progress in the DevLogs spread about this article.
Using various data sets, Scalpel VR allows you to take scalpel in hand and attempt to make accurate incisions into flesh (which looks rather stomach-churningly jellyish at this stage). It’s not a simple case of one slice, but identifying the areas you need to detach for operation. You won’t just be experimenting with humans but also (virtual) dead animals like the mouse autopsy video below. Caution: it might be VR but it’s still not for the faint of heart.
It’s not just about using a scalpel, though; Kay has also developed surgical thread simulation and suturing that will allow you to tie cuts back up post-procedure.
The app’s final release will include a range of different surgeries complete with instructions allowing you to practice each procedure carefully. Obviously in this day and age, you could probably find detailed guides to carrying out these surgeries online, but widely available software that allows anyone to realistically simulate carrying them out is another matter.
There’s no date for the release of ScalpelVR just yet, but you can follow Kay’s progress on his Twitter account.