The Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) are thrilled to announce that we have been shortlisted for the Engineer Collaborate to Innovate Awards 2017 through the Health and Wellbeing category for our collaborative work with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital Innovation team and the VEC discussed what modern technology is available and how these can be adopted and utilised by the health industry using medical data. Through a partnership, the VEC and Alder Hey have pioneered a new surgical planning technique using Virtual Reality (VR) tools developed for the automotive sector. These state-of-the-art tools have been used to assist in the preparation of complex operations, resulting in improved patient outcomes and increased efficiencies.

At Alder Hey the surgeons operate on extremely small hearts from sick children. Using traditional CT and MRI scans it is not possible to fully interrogate the problem prior to surgery or interact intuitively with the data. Using emerging VR technology, the children’s hospital wished to develop a prototype system that will allow surgeons to better plan for complicated interventions and thereby de-risk those interventions and increase the likelihood of successful first-time outcomes.

Using MRI and CT scan data the VEC was able to produce a virtual heart. The heart model can be easily manipulated through gesture control for ease of use. The heart itself is projected into an eight foot virtual model which highlights all details of the small heart, which in reality is roughly the same size as a strawberry. Surgeons and doctors can use this virtual heart to explore the issues and areas planned for surgery as well as being able to walk through the heart, allowing for them to find any other possible deficiencies which they may not have been aware of otherwise.

Not only can this technology be used to improve the risks involved in such surgeries but also for future training purposes as Alder Hey now have a Virtual lab within the hospital.

The Engineer Collaborate to Innovate Winners’ Party on Tuesday 5th September at Ball Brothers Austin Friars in London.

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