A virtual reality system for the training of volunteers involved in health emergency situations

Gianluca De Leo, Michal Ponder, Tom Molet, Marco Fato, Daniel Thalmann, Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann, Francesco Bermano, Francesco Beltrame

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In order to guarantee an effective and punctual medical intervention to injured people involved in health emergency situations, where usually both professional and non-professional health operators are involved, a fast and accurate treatment has to be carried out. In case of catastrophic or very critical situations, non-professional operators who did not receive proper training (volunteers are among them) could be affected by psychological inhibitions. Their performances could slow down in such way that would affect the quality of the treatment and increase both direct and indirect costs. Our virtual reality system that is currently in use at the health care emergency center of San Martino Hospital in Genoa, Italy, has been designed and developed to check health emergency operators' capabilities to adopt correct decision-making procedures, to make optimal use of new technological equipment and to overcome psychological barriers. Our system is composed of (1) a high-end simulation PC, whose main functions are execution of the main software module, rendering of 3D scenes in stereo mode, rendering of sound, and control of data transmission from/to VR devices; (2) a low-end control PC, which controls the VR simulation running on the simulation PC, manages medical emergency simulation scenarios, introduces unexpected events to the simulation and controls the simulation difficulty level; (3) a magnetic-based motion tracking device used for head and hand tracking; (4) a wireless pair of shutter glasses together with a cathode ray tube wall projector; and (5) a high-end surround sound system. The expected benefits have been verified through the design and implementation of controlled clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-274
Number of pages8
JournalCyberpsychology and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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