Students from the CDE took part in our first ever Virtual Research Jam bringing together their skills to look at problems in ‘Virtual Based AR for Surgical Theatres’.
This year’s annual summer event, brought together the worlds of academia, industry and surgical professionals, to use the skills and knowledge the CDE Research Engineers are gaining during their four-year EngD programme, and put it into a real-world application that could benefit the NHS.
The 4-day event ran entirely online and began with keynotes from Sunil Bhudia, Co-Lead of Cardiac Surgery at Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust who outlined a case of how to use Augmented Reality (AR) to address issues faced by surgical teams in the operating theatre. CDE Deputy Director Dr. Christof Lutteroth gave the second keynote ‘How to design immersive technology so people actually use it’.
The teams were asked to work on one of 5 challenges within the theme of Virtual Based AR for Surgical Theatres:
1. Communication of procedures to patients and their families
2. In-situ help during the procedure
3. Staff training
4. Post-op analysis
5. Team working & human factors
CDE was thrilled to have Professional Advisory Board member and Gamejam and Immersive tech expert Kish Hirani involved in planning and hosting the Research jam throughout the week.
Kish and Sunil were joined by a team of mentors to support and guide the student teams. Huge thanks go out to our industry mentors, Thomas Dolby and TJ Matthews from AiSolve Limited, Josh Naylor from Iridescent Digital, Sam Muscroft from Medtronic, and Dan Miller from Unity Technologies. From Bournemouth University, Ian Stephenson, Oleg Fryazinov, Dr Hammadi Nait-Charif and Mara Catalina Aguilera Canon. Thanks to Neill Campbell, Christof Lutteroth, and Christian Richardt at the University of Bath and Surgical mentor Ulrich Stock from Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust.
The teams were given the opportunity to present their work to a panel of expert judges including Sunil Bhudia, Kish Hirani, Prof Guy McCusker, Director of Research for Computer Science at the University of Bath, Jian Zhang, Co-Director of the CDE, Sheyni Paul from EPSRC and Sam Muscroft of Medtronic. The winning team ‘ARtefacts’ presented an AR tool for surgical training, to help train surgical nurses with an AR surgery tool identifier and counter.
This is the first time CDE have run this type of event virtually but the forced move online due to COVID-19 threw up both challenges and opportunities. It was a great cohort-building exercise at a time when both the students and the organising team have been so isolated at home. It encouraged project management, team building, communication, and presentation skills. We are all looking forward to seeing how the final ideas may be developed further and we look forward to working with other partners on similar events in the future.