The acronym ViTAWiN stands for virtual augmented training for education and training in interprofessional emergency care. The project has been funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) since March 2019 as part of the Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) in Vocational Education and Training (VRARBB) programme. ViTAWiN is based on a VR training environment for emergency paramedic training already developed in the EPICSAVE project. For more information on the consortium, advisory board, news and publications related to the project, please visit our project website.
A brief overview
In ViTAWiN, an interdisciplinary consortium is developing, testing and evaluating a multi-user Virtual Reality (VR)/ Augmented Reality (AR) simulation environment. The project addresses the educational needs of teachers and learners in emergency paramedic and emergency nursing training. This enables a broad, user-oriented and sustainable integration of a didactic design into educational practice. The IREX research group is responsible for the media-technical conception, the support of the developers by programming tracking tools as well as for the project management and evaluation.
fig. 1: Emergency paramedics at the scene
The introduction of modern VR and AR technologies should enable a highly interactive, immersive and collaborative training and learning environment. The realistic and spatialised 3D representations in VR/AR environments link directly to everyday professional experiences and are thus highly authentic and contextualised. Through the use of technology, practical learning and work experiences are made possible for various curricular learning fields - in accordance with educational needs.
The application is divided into three sections: Break Room, Terrace and Shock Room. Before the actual simulation training starts, the participants learn about the controls and the medium of virtual reality (VR) in a tutorial. Here, simple tasks are completed that work in the same way in the training. The tutorial is followed by a burn scenario and first aid by the emergency rescue service. Once this is completed, the emergency rescue service and emergency nursing teams meet in the shock room to hand over the patient. The emergency nurses then take over the patient and prepare the patient for further treatment.
fig. 2: Emergency nurses in the shock room
During the handover of the patient, the participants from both training centres communicate remotely with each other and are virtually in the same room with their own avatars. In this way, the exchange of information between different locations and disciplines can be trained and simulated.
A physically present simulation mannequin is used for augmented virtuality. The position of the manikin is transferred to the virtual patient in the prototype using tracking software based on machine learning. For the emergency paramedic scenario, the manikin sits on a chair while the virtual patient is on a terrace. The emergency care participants in the shock room use a lying simulation manikin. During treatment, the manikin can be touched, enhancing the participants' immersive experience.
fig. 3: Demo video: Integration of haptics and emotions
Another important aspect is emotions. With the help of these, participants from the emergency rescue service and emergency care can better assess the patient's condition. The virtual patient reacts to touching sensitive areas with emotions and expressions of pain. As soon as a painkiller has been administered, the patient calms down and the tension in the facial expression decreases.