FundamentalVR’s Fundamental Surgery: A Brief Introduction to a Multimodal Virtual Reality Platform for Training Surgeons

Fundamental Surgery is a VR platform by a company called FundamentalVR, consisting of several components, and a sterling example of social VR used for a serious, practical purpose: the training of surgeons. The training program has been accredited by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Royal College of Surgeons England.

Here’s a one-minute video overview of all five components of Fundamental Surgery:

The components are:

  • HapticVR: deep simulation and procedural surgical rehearsal with kinesthetic haptic feedback (you can see a bit of this in the first video up top);
  • @HomeVR: procedural walkthrough, anatomy and environment familiarization and testing, using a standalone VR headset;
  • Teaching Space: a social VR-based virtual training space (see image below);
  • Data Insights: a central data dashboard to track progress; and
  • MultiuserVR: a collaborative/social VR platform for surgical training (see video below).

This is an animated GIF demonstrating the Teaching Space, complete with a shared whiteboard:

VRScout reported on Fundamental Surgery last September:

Teaching Space [is] an unlimited multi-user virtual classroom designed to help medical schools around the world who’ve been impacted by the pandemic; a virtual space where they’re able to get that crucial hands-on training while working other students in a collaborative virtual environment.

COVID-19 has presented big challenges in the medical field when it comes to surgical training. In many cases, it has completely disrupted traditional training programs, which have always relied on actual face-to-face classroom environments. Zoom and Skype conferencing do provide alternative learning environments, but they’re limited. 2D platforms can’t fully replace the teaching and learning opportunities offered by in-class training.

This new VR learning space provides a safe environment for instructors to meet with trainees, no matter where they are located.

The virtual classroom environment includes a virtual whiteboard that instructors can use to present additional notes as they discuss procedures with their class. From there you can hop on over to Fundamental Surgery’s virtual operating room where you can run demos of surgeries and get even more hands-on experience. 

Here’s a short video showing you what the MultiuserVR surgical experience looks like:

In addition, surgeons in training can take their lessons home with the @HomeVR program:

@HomeVR expands the Fundamental Surgery platform, offering an easy route for residency programs to integrate the latest educational technologies into their curriculums. It supports consistency in training delivery and assessment across a cohort, and can be used to enhance the effectiveness of an institution’s curriculum…

The @HomeVR product is used on standalone headsets and can be taken home to use whenever and wherever the user would like, providing flexibility of learning. The @HomeVR product serves as a great introduction to the HapticVR product, which supports full skills development.

As the VRScout article states,

Think of FundamentalVR’s medical training system as a ‘flight simulator’ for both medical students and their instructors. If you’re going to make a mistake, this is the environment to do it. Because the experience is fully immersive—using realistic audio, video, and haptic feedback—the emotions that you experience are real.

Who knows? The next time (God forbid!) you go under the surgeon’s knife, she might have had part of her training in virtual reality!

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

For more information about FundamentalVR’s Fundamental Surgery product, visit their website, or follow them on social media: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or check out their videos on YouTube (there’s also a ton of videos here on the Fundamental Surgery website). And I will be adding Fundamental Surgery to my ever-growing comprehensive list of social VR and virtual worlds.

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