Threading a catheter in the heart is tricky business, even when you’re just doing it in virtual reality.
It certainly wasn’t easy for me to pick up when I visited the Medical Devices Center here recently at the University of Minnesota. By the time my lesson in simulated device testing was over, I’d learned what goes into tailoring a life-saving product to a certain person’s heart, even if I hadn’t even remotely succeeded at doing so.
This kind of immersive, three-dimensional experience is at the cutting-edge of medical device innovation today. By bringing together interactive designers, engineers, and medical professionals, labs around the world are beginning to test the fit and function of stents, artificial hips, and other medical devices and implants on virtually reproduced organs throughout the body. They can also bring up models of an actual organ in a specific patient to practice a procedure before ever stepping foot in an operating room.