The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Virtual Reality Is Coming to Med School

Students of the Western University of Health Sciences will soon be able to perform virtual dissections and organ exploration. The institution, with campuses in California and Oregon, has created a virtual-reality learning center using funds from an anonymous donation of $100,000.

The center, located on the first floor of the Pumerantz Library on the Western campus in Pomona, CA, will feature a virtual dissection table as an alternative to the traditional cadaver lab. The table is able to display life-sized human forms re-created from patient scans and cadavers.

“This allows you to look inside the body. You see volume. You see tissues. You see in 360-degree access,” Robert Hasel, associate dean of simulation, said in an article for Campus Technology. “You can zoom in and out. You can slice it and isolate tissue types and organs, and view the radiographic images. It’s multifunctional in use. You can embed curriculum in it, everything from information to testing.”

Along with the virtual dissection table, the center will have 4-D displays and utilize Oculus Rift virtual reality glasses. A program created with the Stanford University School of Medicine Division of Clinical Anatomy will allow students to take a tour of the human body.

“This is a great, fun project,” Hasel said. “It is going to benefit students and faculty in many ways. We’re bringing three-dimensional teaching into a three-dimensional science, with the combined ability to interact with it.”

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