[Feature Story- VR Application] VR in Taiwan: Fire Escape Training & Simulated Hemodialysis

by Pei-Wen Wang

VR, referred to as virtual reality, provides users with an analogy of vision and other senses, as if users are having an real-world experience. In addition to VR technology in films and television programs that are often seen today, there have been several other applications in Taiwan.

NTNU immersive learning system for fire escape training

In 2021, a fire broke out in a residential building in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, causing 46 people dead and 41 injured. This incident had led to more people paying attention to fire escape procedures. Fire Escape VR Training System is developed by a team from NTNU led by Professor Jon Chao Hong. When a person is learning through performing actions, their mirror neurons are activated, as hands-on practice in VR stimulates the blood flow in the prefrontal cortex, which leads to better learning outcomes.

With this knowledge, the research team developed a training system for fire escape based on the patented technology featuring skill learning modules. Users will receive a step-by-step guidance, including repeated practice of equipment operation and action steps for escape in the correct order. There is also simulation of fire events for users to familiarize themselves with certain required responses.

First 5G application at Taichung Veterans General Hospital with simulated hemodialysis

Taichung Veterans General Hospital adopts a 5G transmission system to conduct remote lessons using VR technology. With nurses operating VR simulation of procedure and possible challenges faced in conducting hemodialysis, students can learn required techniques and how to handle potential problems. The system can also be synchronized with that from other hospitals for teaching without the limit of space, which overcomes the barrier in communication in a time affected by the pandemic.

In January 2021, the Department of Nursing at Taichung Veterans General Hospital proposed a teaching program titled VR Simulation Hemodialysis and Problem Handling, which assists new nurses to accumulate experience in dealing with abnormal conditions through VR lessons, during their first 6 months of training. The goal is to ensure the safety of dialysis tubing and reduce potential injuries to patients.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic has greatly affected the effectiveness of face-to-face physical teaching, over the past two years, Taichung Veterans General Hospital has established the VRSTUDIO and worked together with HTC to develop its own VR teaching program. Now, the two even propose teaching curricula with clinical simulations of scenarios that include hemodialysis, bleeding during kidney dialysis, and air embolism. These have all been designed to provide students with hands-on practice.

Conclusion

VR applications are becoming more comprehensive and diverse, bringing new usages to various fields and solving the challenges we face today.

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