Treating the virtual patient

The CURVES suite at Cardiff showing an immersive training session involving two
The CURVES suite at Cardiff showing an immersive training session involving two trainee radiographers positioning a virtual patient and enacting a treatment fraction from a virtual LINAC.

Researchers at Cardiff and Bristol Universities will today (Friday 19 April) show how ground-breaking ultra high definition (UHD) technology is making a real difference in remote medical training and diagnosis, with 3D demonstrations on a ’virtual patient’.

Already used by trainee radiographers at Cardiff University, UHD technology, using the UK’s research and education high-speed data network Janet, has the potential to revolutionise the way medical training is conducted.

It will not only free up treatment rooms for patients but also enable students to grow their competences in a virtual world before treating ’actual’ patients.

By sharing resources with other sites significant savings could also be made, as well as enabling shared expertise.

Professor Nick Avis, School of Computer Science & Informatics explains: "The great thing about UHD video is that it enables us to use high fidelity visuals to replicate the human body, which are critical for modern diagnostics.

"Delivering this data-intensive digital media to remote users, whilst retaining high visual quality, requires high-speed networking and infrastructure. We are fortunate to be able to use Janet’s high capacity data network to collaborate with research partners and push the boundaries of this technology, not only in the UK but internationally too."

Today’s demonstration will show radiographers at Cardiff’s School of Healthcare Studies undergoing training on a ’virtual patient’ using 3D technology that brings to life an area of the body in need of treatment.

The streams, of 4-8K content (that’s 4 - 8 times the resolution of normal HD) will also be shared with other sites at Bristol and PSNC (The Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Centre in Poland).

A second demonstration will show computational modelling on arterial cells - the results of a collaboration with the Cardiovascular Sciences Research Group based at the Wales Heart Research Institute in Cardiff.

This showcase is the first of two run by the UK UHD consortium, consisting of the Universities of Cardiff, Bristol and Strathclyde, and Glasgow School of Art.

This group is the first of its kind in the country to build an integrated networked infrastructure for research into novel multimedia techniques and networking architectures. Through their work, the group aims to develop and deploy the next generation of networked UHD applications.