Dutch university’s serious Wii game aids surgery

Dutch university’s serious Wii game aids surgery

The University Medical Centre in the Dutch city of Groningen has developed a game for the Wii platform that helps surgeons train for operations. Despite having invested around a million euros in a surgical training machine, students found the training tedious and uninteresting so the apparatus was largely unused.

The surgical procedures involving laparoscopy involve technically challenging operations as the instruments are inserted through a small hole in the abdomen and the surgeon views the entire procedure remotely via a screen. This makes manoeuvering and orientation very tricky. At first glance it seems as though the game has little relation to the reality of surgery, as players are challenged to save robots from a deep mine-shaft by boring rubble out of the walls and building bridges. However, the joysticks are similar to those used in the real-life surgery and the movements are exactly the same as with Laparoscopy.

The University reckons the game is more challenging to students and more engaging than the standard methods involving repetitive exercises of realistic gall-bladder operations, whilst the skills developed are exactly the same. The game is being developed in cooperation with Grendel Games and the Leeuwarden Medical Centre and is expected to be available on the market in 2013 priced around 120 euros.

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