University of Cambridge & Cambridge University Hospitals to Create Interactive Holographic Simulation Training for Learners

GigXR | January 10, 2022

GigXR, a global provider of eXtended Reality (XR) solutions for instructor-led teaching and training, announced today its partnership with the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) NHS Foundation Trust, to co-create evidence-based holographic acute care simulations for multiprofessional training, including medical students, nurses, and doctors seeking to enhance their skills in clinical practice.

Using mixed reality, which merges physical environments with hyper-realistic digital elements, learners will be able to interact with holographic patients to practice high-level, real-time decision making and intervention choice. Accessed and deployed through GigXR’s Immersive Learning Platform, the partnership and new holographic simulations will also democratize access to safe-to-fail simulation scenarios guided by top experts in medicine and healthcare education.

“Simulating real-world, real-time medical care requires interactive, responsive patients, medical tools and evolving scenarios that conventional methods, such as manikins, task trainers and standardized patients, and even virtual and augmented realities, cannot accurately recreate. Mixed reality not only allows us to create patient holograms that will have realistic medical responses to interventions, it also merges the latest advancements in hardware devices, software, remote capabilities and expertise, to scale access to cutting-edge medical knowledge and training tools.”

Arun Gupta, Director of Postgraduate Education, Cambridge University Health Partners

Educators will be able to access and share scenarios, change patient vitals, introduce complications, and record observations and discussions, while projecting the holographic media using Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality headset into any physical training environment, whether in a classroom, large teaching hospital, a small rural campus or remote on-demand study. Learners can access, observe and assess the holographic patient simulations from either a mixed reality headset or an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet.

“Conventional simulations are heavily resource-dependent, which makes it difficult to create a global standard of medical training,” added Gupta. “By partnering with GigXR, we’re empowering instructors and institutions to usher in a new era of simulation that facilitates the seamless exchange of global medical knowledge using future-proof technology that transforms those insights from theory to true-to-life practice.”

Offering a selection of scenarios across multiple pathologies, such as anaphylactic shock, acute asthma, acute pulmonary embolism and community acquired pneumonia, learners can master evolving situations and reinforce skills required for acute care settings. For example, the first pathologies being created include emergency scenarios and deteriorating chronic conditions that lead to hospitalization, focusing on the real-time responses and human factors needed to provide safe and effective care in both types of situations.

The holographic simulations will also help overcome other long-term challenges when it comes to creating realistic medical simulation. Research shows that patient-based simulation scenarios result in better learning than manikin-based simulation; however, standardized patients (actors trained to portray the symptoms of a given pathology for simulation purposes, who may sometimes be fellow students or medical faculty) only portray a simulated illness, which prohibits effective use of diagnostic tools (as the “patient” is not actually ill).

With the new holographic simulations created by GigXR and Cambridge, learners can grab a holographic stethoscope and listen to the holographic patient’s lungs to assess and treat clinical conditions like COPD or pneumonia.

“With mixed reality, we can overlay as many or as few digital elements on the learner’s physical space as needed, from the holographic patient itself through to advanced diagnostic and monitoring equipment such as point of care ultrasound. This ensures the environment is relevant to the training. A virtual state-of-the-art ER is not helpful if you practice in a small rural hospital without that equipment – the holographic simulations we’re creating with GigXR remove this barrier,” said Riikka Hofmann, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge.

The University of Cambridge is also initiating research alongside development of the holographic simulations. A dedicated group of researchers will be crafting the benchmarks and criteria for evaluating learning and patient outcomes with mixed reality devices, as well as evaluating the products and resulting efficiencies for the institution. The research will guide development so that the holographic simulations will come to market optimized and supported by academic insights.

“We are designing a research-based professional learning intervention to evaluate this work with colleagues at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. Empirical evidence is essential in further supporting the impact and efficacies of mixed reality training and scaling this technology across the world,” added Hofmann.

“Cambridge has forged an industry-leading path in the integration of mixed reality, medicine and the learning sciences. We are honored to be working with this world-class university, hospital trust and research team. Capitalizing on a tradition of innovation that has already included landmark work on DNA and the discovery of monoclonal antibodies, the University of Cambridge continues to create programs and tools for tomorrow’s healthcare leaders.”

David King Lassman, CEO at GigXR

GigXR, the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust plan to launch the holographic simulations in mid-2022. 

About GigXR
GigXR is a provider of reality (XR) learning systems for instructor-led teaching and training that enhances learning outcomes for medical and nursing schools, hospitals and higher education and the Department of Defense. GigXR’s Immersive Learning System includes a growing catalogue of mixed reality applications that run on a robust platform, designed to break through the limitations of conventional 2D learning resources, by placing true-to-life 3D simulations and teaching tools in a collaborative physical space using the Microsoft HoloLens 2.

GigXR’s flagship products, HoloPatient and HoloHuman, use volumetric video capture and hyper-realistic 3D models to create safe-to-fail environments in which medical and nursing students can practice vital diagnostic, communication and clinical reasoning skills. GigXR is headquartered in Los Angeles, CA with global customers on five continents. 

About Cambridge University Hospitals
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) is one of the largest and best known trusts in the country, delivering high-quality patient care through Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie Hospitals. CUH is a leading national centre for specialist treatment for rare or complex conditions and a university teaching hospital with a worldwide reputation.

CUH is a key partner in Cambridge University Health Partners (CUHP), one of only six academic health science centres in the UK, and is at the heart of the development of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus (CBC), which brings together on one site world-class biomedical research, patient care and education. As part of the Campus development, Papworth Hospital has created a bespoke, purpose-built hospital, and AstraZeneca is building a new global R&D centre and corporate headquarters. The Campus is one of the Government’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) comprehensive biomedical research centres.

About the University of Cambridge and the Faculty of Education
The University of Cambridge is one of the world’s top ten leading universities, with a rich history of radical thinking dating back to 1209. Its mission is to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence. The University comprises 31 autonomous Colleges and 150 departments, faculties and institutions. Cambridge research spans almost every discipline, from science, technology, engineering and medicine through to the arts, humanities and social sciences, with multi-disciplinary teams working to address major global challenges. Its researchers provide academic leadership, develop strategic partnerships and collaborate with colleagues worldwide.

As one of the world’s leading departments for education, the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge undertakes teaching and research that addresses multiple aspects of the relationship between education and society on an international scale. It has particular strengths in the psychology of education, educational technology, education and international development, and policy-focused research. Most of its research is undertaken through collaborative partnerships that cut across sectors, disciplines and boundaries. Through these, the Faculty aims to deliver scholarship that achieves deep and lasting results: unlocking potential, creating opportunities and enabling happier, healthier lives.


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