COVID-19 affected Health Workers at extreme. According to Medicalxpress, %21 of the total covid-19 cases belongs to heath-workers alone! Particularly, in china this percentage is %4, while in Wuhan it is 41.5. Moreover this scale is 30.5 % in Uk, 30.5 % in Spain.Regarding 16th of April, recorded covid-19 cases among health workers are stated as more than 9.600. Since, virtual and augmented reality learning environments is my profession for 7 years for medical applications in particular, I knew that I have to do something to save not only patients lives but also to protect medical personnel as well. I designed and developed a virtual operating room including the preoperative preparation learning scenario during and after my PhD. When I was a post-doctoral fellow at Australia I noticed that they have been preferring 360 videos for the VR experience rather than completely structure virtual spaces. Producing 360 videos have offered to reach more individuals through the audience can experience it using cheaper devices. Creating a 360 video not only easier and takes less time than structuring a whole virtual environment but also they are as sufficient as an immersive VR to achieve the desired learning outcomes.
What it does
During the COVID-19 crisis, I wanted to contribute to humanity somehow. After considering my professional experience, I decided to run the project: *Trust-My-VH ( Trust My Virtual Hospital ) *. As known, several countries all around the world need more medical staff; therefore, they started to graduate their students earlier than expected to overcome their healthcare requirement. These students must start to work in the field with a lack of orientation and practice. Besides the newly graduated ones, even the current employees do not enough informed with respect to the particular applications and procedures of the pandemic. Trust-My-VH is a 360 interactive hospital that is designed to teach a hospital orientation and the pandemic procedures to the medical staff. The users of Trust-My-VH can practice the learning scenario of the pandemic in a safe zone. Trust-My-VH can reduce to have an infection at the work with having enough knowledge and experience. The represented hospital orientation scenario makes Trust-My-VH a general training tool for all medical employees. Especially, newly graduated staff can find an opportunity to learn in a secure environment.
How I built it
The previous version of this project developed using the Unity Game engine. This version was compatible with Oculus Quest VR headset. The virtual operating room was completely structured to teach preoperative procedures. (link) In this project, the learning scenarios regarding pandemic applications and a hospital orientation was recorded using a 360 camera with the guidance of experienced medical staff. While this specialist was illustrating procedures, all the details were explained for designing Trust-My-VH. The recorded 360 materials were stitched to provide 360 vision and the markers were added to present the theoretical information about the scenes and stages. The video stitch program of Insta and Unity Game Engine were used to add interactivity to Trust-My-VH. Trust-My-VH were built for Android (.apk) and Oculus Quest. Thus, the users experienced Trust-My-VH either their cheap mobile phone integrated head-mounted display or a standalone HMD. We also uploaded Trust-My-VH to Youtube360 channel to reach more user.
Challenges I ran into
Having the permissions from the hospital and a specialist to support was the bigger challenge for this project. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, video recording at the hospital had high-risk.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I am glad to add value to the medical field with this 360 learning material. Depending on the previous research, it is possible to say that using VR to teach and learn reduce learning time and the learners can keep their attention on the subject longer than the traditional techniques. Trust-My-VH serves to everyone even they do not have HMDs. The users become able to experience hospital orientation and pandemic procedures via Youtube360 preference. They can use this free platform to increase their knowledge and awareness.
What I learned
We are planning to apply the different version of Trust-My-VH to compare the distinguishing effectiveness of the platforms. After gathering and analyzing the data, we will be able to compare the perceived effectiveness between using a mobile phone integrated HMD and 360 web-based videos.
What's next for In Virtual Hospital We Trust (Trust-My-VH)
The scenario of Trust-My-VH can be enhanced or new scenarios can be added using similar technique and devices. We are planning to develop a 360 learning set to support both in-service training and not only limited to on-job training of the medical staff, but especially other active officers during pandemic such as policemen, traffic polices and military to train the procedures. It is also aimed to be presented to civils so that they can simply learn the procedures to obey pandemic rules such as social distance, mask usage, hand restrictions, glove usage, procedures regarding washing hands and disinfection prior to enter home and sterilize from outside conditions. It is aimed to set a machine learning to test whether they can learn the procedure with minimum of 85%. In case of success the civil will gain the access to go outside since the civil obeys pandemic rules at an expected level. Further on pandemic, in the aim to propose TRUST-MY-VH as an accessible solution, we will set this as an accessible and free material so that it can be implemented to poor geographic regions, improved by other professionals and open a space for enthusiastic young generation who wishes to be involved with the technology as a learning material.