Battlefield Trauma Simulator


Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Last Wednesday I was fortunate to be asked to look at a new piece of equipment that is being developed. It is a simulator to help train medics in dealing with casualties on a battlefield, and is the brainchild of a firm called Plextec.
In some ways it is reminiscent of the more advanced DCCT, except it is designed to train medics and others in the initial stages of aid to trauma victims.
The system works on Virtual Reality, and at present is formulated for warfare in the middle east, although other scenarios are being planned and the background can be altered and adapted.

It works by the trainee putting on a VR headset ( and these are much smaller and more compact than previous headsets) and becoming immersed in the scenario, The one I tried was a small village, possibly Afghanistani, and the effect was startling. Video capture is used to provide the background and environment, and the equipment allows for a full 360 degree viewpoint, as well as up and down. There are birds flying overhead,houses that have doorways and the full experience of being actually on the ground. Now, a small caveat; the system that I tried was a prototype that works off a domestic laptop and not the full High Definition version that will be available, so there was no sound, but one of the development team, Collette Johnston, who is by training and practice, a medical specialist, assured me that noise would be an upcoming and important feature. The developers have taken strong and expert advice, from those who have actually dealt with the results of IEDs and gunshot wounds, and have been made aware of the sheer volume of noise that an incident generates.
As far as I understand, the system works by allowing the operator to locate a casualty and then make choices and decisions on initial treatment, as well as follow up treatment and then the structure of the event is decided by the actions.
The company, Plextec, are involved in medical, defence and police and security work and are very skilled at what they do.
The views from the simulator are most impressive, and this is the unfinished version!

A demonstration of the capabilities of the system, a computer created roller coaster in VR was yet another illustration of how good the system is and it certainly did feel as if one was riding the rails.

I'm promised a revisit when the Hd version is available, and I am very much looking forward to that experience.

I know very little about modern battlefield medicine or treatment, but this Vr system does appear to be a wonderful training opportunity, and I know that, as in the DCCT one cannot replicate the total reality of live rounds and in this unit the actual casualty is not real, it is still an excellent training device and one that can not only save money in the long run, more importantly it could save lives.

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