This story is from the category Education
Date posted: 05/07/2009
For medical students at the University of Florida's College of Medicine, learning just became a little more virtual. In a collaboration with the Medical College of Georgia and three other universities. Engineers have crafted what they are calling a mixed reality human. Her name is Amanda Jones and while she may not exactly be the 'lively' type she's what researchers are calling a solution.
"We've created a system that allows students to practice intimate exams, specifically breast examinations," Benjamin Lok says, a UF professor of information and computer sciences, and an engineer on the project.
The hybrid computer/mannequin shows students how to correctly perform a breast exam and also how to talk to and gather information from their patients. Lok says medical students are used to practicing exam skills on actors but that has its limitations. To present certain situations such as breast abnormalities such as lumps or masses you can't do that with actors but you can with this breast simulator," Lok said.
The mixed-reality human, ?talks? to students and they respond via a computer speech and voice recognition system tailored by doctoral student Aaron Kotranza, who has been working on the concept for about two years.
"Without this type of technology, students can not get the same instant, precise, detailed feedback on their exam performance," said Kotranza. "It's this type of feedback that's been shown to be the most important motivator for sustained learning in medical education."
Lok says a pilot study has concluded that students who practiced with a mixed-reality human improved their communication skills and their technical abilities, but trials are still needed to determine whether those skills persist once the students examine real patients.
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