So, I was back at the SCSC on Wednesday 27th November, shadowing a Simulation technician training day and trying my hand at some virtual Laparoscopy. The latter was incredibly tricky, like trying to do precise tasks in the mirror, resulting in some very tense, crunched shoulders. I didn’t have chance to try the old school Laparoscopy training equipment, but it was interesting that elements of this were more realistic and I wondered if they would better serve the ‘psychological fidelity’ the centre is striving for. This included: torso shaped surface; skin-like material around the laparoscopic incisions; the graspers at the end of Laparoscope rods; and the potential haptic feedback that would result from picking up actual objects (haptic is being developed for the virtual machines, just not available in the demo model I tried).
The training day included talks from a Laerdal technician about maintaining simulators, presentations about the SMOTS audio and video systems, which are multi-camera, multi-audio feed and a make-up session about creating realistic wounds. It was an opportunity to get hands on with the SimMan mannequin. This included discovering:
- his ‘on/off’ switch
- his skin feels better i.e. less sticky, when talc’d
- he has a motherboard in his back, a router in his abdomen, a fan in his chest and he fits in a suitcase (Laerdal image)
- his skin zips off
- he has interchangeable genitals (he was in female mode that day)
- if left on too long he gets warm enough to make trainees wonder if he’s simulating having a temperature! (Temperature control is not a built in feature of mannequins, neither is skin colour change or smell).
I’ll be back in December, putting some of this research into practice. Trying out the software that controls the simulators and spending more time getting up close and personal with the Sims.