Can immersive virtual reality (VR) be used to prep medical students and surgical residents for the operating room? OvidVR hopes to do just that with its Ovid-Total Knee Arthroplasty and Ovid-Total Hip Arthroplasty VR simulations.

Just launched in May 2017, the development team is promoting OvidVR as a safe surgical training environment with hyperrealistic simulation. The team hopes to reportedly “fill a clear gap in simulation based medical training.” It’s not meant to replace the traditional cadaver lab, but rather complement it, a common theme I’ve run across in studying how VR may be utilized in the medical field. Additionally, OvidVR isn’t meant to be a solitary training tool, as it features multi-user co-op mode. Furthermore, user performance analytics are built into the software, potentially allowing attendings and other supervisors of trainees to provide feedback on surgical skills.

Current OvidVR demonstration videos feature the surgical training software running on the HTC Vive platform, however, the Oculus Rift system is also shown in product photos (both are supported per OvidVR staff). Their entire setup is supposedly able to be “complete set up mobile, everything fits inside of a backpack, giving you the freedom to learn at home or office”, which would likely require at least a laptop to power the hardware running the VR simulation as well as the headset and trackers.

While the current market of VR surgical simulation training program is nowhere as crowded as the general medical app genre, OvidVR isn’t the only player. OssoVR (also orthopedics focused, just landed $2million in seed funding) and FundamentalVR (which incorporates a heavy dose of haptics with their VR model for surgery training) are some of the other alternatives. While not specifically for surgery, SimX offers another take on medical training using mobile VR. The entertainment industry has recently helped make immersive VR more accessible for all, and the future of this technology in the medical field appears bright.