Machine learning-guided virtual reality simulators can help neurosurgeons develop the skills they need before they step in the operating room, according to a recent study. Research from the Neurosurgical Simulation and Artificial Intelligence Learning Centre at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro) and McGill University shows that machine learning algorithms can accurately assess the capabilities of neurosurgeons during virtual surgery, demonstrating that virtual reality simulators using artificial intelligence can be powerful tools in surgeon training. Fifty participants were recruited from four stages of neurosurgical training; neurosurgeons, fellows and senior residents, junior residents, and medical students. They performed 250 complex tumour resections using NeuroVR, a virtual reality surgical simulator developed by the National Research Council of Canada and distributed by CAE, which recorded all instrument movements in 20 millisecond intervals. Using this raw data, a machine learning algorithm developed performance measures such as instrument position and force applied, as well as outcomes such as amount of tumour removed and blood loss, which could predict the level of expertise of each participant with 90 per-cent accuracy.
At most universities, student loan money helps to pay for tuition, room and board, and textbooks. This semester, biology students at Arizona State University will use those same funds to pay for a new kind of educational tool: virtual reality headsets. Long popular with gamers drawn to immersive fantasy worlds, VR headsets are increasingly being used by scientists, doctors and even the military. Wherever there are people who need to be trained in complex environments or on high-priced machines with little room for error, there is a potential role for VR, according to Michael Angilletta, the associate director of undergraduate programs at Arizona State. Angilletta said that the desire to provide students with engaging real-world experience prompted school officials to partner with Google and Labster ––a VR development company –– to create simulated environments for online students enrolled in a general biology course.
I wasn't really aware as a kid that game development was a career that I could have, especially from an artist's perspective." Pinnick is a VR Technical Artist for Google, where she's working on Playground, the company's augmented reality app. But three years ago, she was an art school graduate and self-taught virtual reality developer with an uncertain future at her feet. "I was playing games and I knew that there was art there," Pinnick said. "I just didn't put two and two together." Before graduating in 2015, Pinnick carved a unique path for herself at ArtCenter College of Design, a school that offered traditional art training but hadn't yet embraced programming as a creative outlet. In her final semester, it seemed like the school might never include game design in its degree offerings -- some teachers didn't even know how to hold a video game controller, let alone create an interactive, digital experience. "It's just not in their wheelhouse," Pinnick said in 2015.
At CoSN's 2018 conference, "Exponential Change: Designing Learning in the 4th Industrial Revolution," Jason Swanson and I led a session exploring potential uses of wearables, augmented reality and virtual reality in education. We think that these emerging digital depth technologies could support the creation of responsive learning environments, increasing student engagement, personalization, understanding of others' experiences and perspectives, self-awareness, critical thinking and student agency. But we know from previous technology cycles that such benefits are not a given. To help session participants think through potential uses and implications, we invited them to explore five future vignettes describing possible ways in which wearables, augmented reality and virtual reality might be used in ten years' time. Information collected from a wearable device helps to deliver just-in-time supports for a fourth-grade student having difficulty approaching a homework assignment.