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VR software improves stroke education

The Think F.A.S.T. virtual reality app educates people about strokes and helps to save lives.

A team from telecommunications equipment company Qualcomm have created a VR application that allows people to virtually examine a patient to look for any signs of a stroke.

They shared in a blog post on their website: "When you step inside Think F.A.S.T.'s virtual world, you're the doctor ... Once you strap on your Head Mounted Display (HMD) headset, you'll enter a futuristic-looking medical training facility. If you're a Trekkie, you'll notice that this virtual room resembles a mashup between the Enterprise's sick bay and its holodeck.

"You'll then be greeted by a floating orb-looking ball and you'll notice that you can freely move about in this virtual world. This is helpful for examining your lifelike patient, who sits in the centre of the room on a pedestal, waiting for you to examine him.

"Next, the orb provides you with a short tutorial on stroke symptoms and walks you through the examination, utilizing the internationally recognized F.A.S.T. system for diagnosing a patient. For example, the orb instructs you to ask the patient to perform several physical movements which allows you to diagnose if the patient has suffered a stroke. As you perform your exam, you're having a verbal exchange with the patient and can walk around them, examining from any angle."

And it is thought the software could be used to aid medical students or help people in the third world have access to this training.

They added: "Whether you're a medical university student, a health care provider in a third world with limited medical training, or a patient, everyone is trained in the same fashion with Think F.A.S.T. Designed to provide standardized instruction, Think F.A.S.T. facilitates consistency in stroke training worldwide.

"Passively learning about stroke online, watching videos, or taking tests isn't the most efficient (or interesting) approach. To truly learn stroke symptoms, you'll need to trade your textbook for Think F.A.S.T. You'll conduct a comprehensive stroke examination - but in a risk-free virtual environment where it's fine to make mistakes. Think F.A.S.T. VR training allows you to learn by doing as you can repeat the simulation multiple times to better retain your training and increase your proficiency."

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