The objective of this project is to explore the potential of the integration of techniques from Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence to increase the effectiveness of surgical training by providing personalized instruction, assessment, and formative feedback in a form and on a scale not possible in the physical world. Work is being carried out in the domain of dental surgery. The systems being built promise to provide dental students with an increased amount of guided practice at relatively low cost.
The following systems have been implemented:
- An immersive virtual reality dental simulator that provides a 3D stereoscopic visualization of the entire dental operating room environment. Using two haptic devices the simulator allows a user to manipulate the dental instrument and the mirror and renders results graphically and haptically. Throughout the procedure, the simulator gathers kinematic data that describes how the procedure was carried out. Analytical routines identify errors in the outcome and their causes in the procedure. Formative feedback is delivered using a variety of modalities. One is a video replay of the procedure, highlighting the errors as they occur. Another is a haptic feedback to teach students the proper use of force.
- An intelligent tutoring system for teaching decision making skills in dental surgery. This work has a particular focus on teaching situation awareness skills in decision making, which no other existing surgical simulator does.
- An immersive VR simulator for teaching emergency management in dental surgery. This simulator uses low-cost readily available VR technology to maximize accessibility to students. In this way students can practice anytime and anywhere.
Numerous clinical studies demonstrating the effectiveness of these systems have been published.