ABOUT THE GAME: "Burn Center" is a simulation aimed at training medical personnel to respond to medical emergencies. The program simulates the efforts required to respond to an explosion at a theme park that results in the need to treat up to 2,000 victims of burns and blasts. Health care professionals work through the scenario by making decisions regarding procedures at the site of the disaster, such as the most appropriate hospital to send an individual patient based on the injuries sustained. Other options include managing the care at the hospital over 36 hours. The program also includes multimedia lectures intended to teach the users how to manage such situations.
WHAT IS VIRTUAL REALITY: The term "virtual reality" is often confusing because it is used in so many different ways. It is often used to describe interactive software programs -- on or off the Web -- in which the user responds to visual and auditory cues as he or she navigates a three-dimensional environment on a graphics monitor. But originally, it referred to immersive virtual environments, in which the user would be surrounded by an artificial, three-dimensional computer-generated world, involving not just sight and sound, but touch as well through so-called "haptic" devices. Touch is vital to direct and guide human movement, and the use of haptics in virtual environments simulates how objects and actions feel to the user through biofeedback processes. This is critical for performing virtual surgery as part of medical training, for example.
The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.