News

Creating our free Augmented Reality App

12 June 2024

The origins of our new Augmented Reality Training app began with a student passionate about creating a new tool to help other students learn about medical procedures.

Renske, along with our other Medical Artist, Tom.
Renske, along with our other Medical Artist, Tom.

The ART app is free and contains 3D interactive models with accurate labels and animations of procedures to help students build a deep understanding of anatomy outside of the classroom and during revision . The app can also be paired with Limbs & Things trainers  to unlock the augmented reality  learning feature which means students can see underlying biological structures during training.

 The ideas that sparked ART began with our Medical Artist, Renske, whose vision and drive along with the talents of the Limbs & Things team and expert collaboration has led ART to where it is today.

“5 years ago, I completed my MSc Medical Art dissertation on developing a 3D resource for teaching Lumbar Puncture to students. As part of the degree, I developed animated models to support teaching in a 3-dimensional space, creating a new way for students to visualise medicine.

 

Two students get to grips with the chest drain procedure using the ART app.

 

The work was picked up by Limbs & Things who took me on board as an intern. Supported by a Research & Design team, we continued working on this concept, doing further research, and laying the groundwork for what eventually would become the ART project.

As the internship ended and I was hired as a Medical Artist, the project was paused to focus on other areas my skills could assist. I worked to create other realistic anatomical sculpts and designs to support development of our products that you might be familiar with including the Infant Hip and the Enhanced C-Section Module for PROMPT Flex, enhancing my skill set. However, ART was soon revisited, and in 2023 serious work began to continue developing this project.

Along with a second Medical Artist who specialises in AR and assisted by an enthusiastic Product Management team and App Development team, we reworked the project to support the innovative direction Limbs & Things simulation is heading.

 

Practicing lumbar puncture with the help of augmented reality.

 

The vision remained the same; to compliment the practical skills learned by using physical simulation models with a virtual platform to enhance understanding of the underlying structures and their manipulation during procedures.

We decided ART would be available as a free app, making it widely accessible, and it would contain two avenues of learning. The first would be interactive 3D models based on our Limbs & Things trainers. These allow students to explore the anatomy and procedures in their own time. The second avenue was augmented reality which allows students to visualise the internal structures while using our physical trainers.

We based our AR & 3D models on our structurally accurate products and armed with guidance from medical experts in the field and ample medical research, we began to construct the User Interface (UI) wireframes and models which are then layered with photorealistic textures and animations to emulate real world medical scenarios. These animations are then able to be overlayed onto our existing trainers through augmented reality.

Navigating virtual learning and combining it with physical simulation has been a learning process. As the use of AR continues to grow around the world with endless possibilities, the team have adapted and developed along the way, learning new software, skills, and solutions and the ART app reflects their endeavours.

 

 

 

It has been brilliant to see people use ART, especially if they have never used AR learning before! Medical professionals and trainees are used to seeing anatomy in textbooks and other 2D resources, and it has been great watching people get acquainted with anatomy in 3D and discover the possibilities of AR learning. They are often just as excited as we are and start thinking about how they can implement this into their training. It has been great to see our vision come to life.

Currently, Augmented Reality Training is available with our Chest Drain & Needle Decompression Trainer, Lumbar Puncture & Epidural Range and Catheterisation Range. ART will continue to grow, bringing in more medical experts to help design lifelike anatomy and accurately portray procedures for different product ranges. We can’t wait to share with you what we have in store!”

You can download the ART app for free in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store to start exploring our 3D models now. Pair one of our compatible products with an ART mat to unlock the Augmented Reality feature. ART Mats now come as standard with all new purchases.