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Comput Methods Programs Biomed. 2005 Dec;80 Suppl 1:S61-70.

Building interactive virtual environments for simulated training in medicine using VRML and Java/JavaScript.

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University of Maribor, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Smetanova 17, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia.


Medicine is a difficult thing to learn. Experimenting with real patients should not be the only option; simulation deserves a special attention here. Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML) as a tool for building virtual objects and scenes has a good record of educational applications in medicine, especially for static and animated visualisations of body parts and organs. However, to create computer simulations resembling situations in real environments the required level of interactivity and dynamics is difficult to achieve. In the present paper we describe some approaches and techniques which we used to push the limits of the current VRML technology further toward dynamic 3D representation of virtual environments (VEs). Our demonstration is based on the implementation of a virtual baby model, whose vital signs can be controlled from an external Java application. The main contributions of this work are: (a) outline and evaluation of the three-level VRML/Java implementation of the dynamic virtual environment, (b) proposal for a modified VRML Timesensor node, which greatly improves the overall control of system performance, and (c) architecture of the prototype distributed virtual environment for training in neonatal resuscitation comprising the interactive virtual newborn, active bedside monitor for vital signs and full 3D representation of the surgery room.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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