The HUG open a Centre for Virtual Medicine
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The new Centre for Virtual Medicine at the HUG is a pioneer in the use of virtual reality for clinical research and medical practice.
The Centre for Virtual Medicine (CMV) is the result of collaboration between the Departments of Diagnostics, Clinical Neurosciences and Medicine and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). “This interface was born out of the desire to link the worlds of engineering and clinical professions, so that new virtual reality technologies can be used to improve care and diagnostic tools,” explains Oliver Kannape, director of the Virtual Medicine Centre.
From the lab to MRI
Open to the development of applications in all medical fields (psychiatry, surgery, intensive care, etc.), from diagnosis to anaesthesia and therapy, the CMV relies in particular on the benefits of virtual reality in the treatment of pain or the modification of body perception.
These advantages can be useful in various contexts. One of them, the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examination, which is particularly difficult for claustrophobic people, has benefited from a technology developed at EPFL. A virtual reality helmet offered to the patient allows him or her to be immersed in a clear room. Vision is no longer limited by the ring of the device.
“Beyond the direct contribution to treatment, the CMV also aims to develop medical training and fundamental research, using technological advances to improve knowledge,” adds Dr Marco Solca, Head of the Scientific Clinic in the Department of Psychiatry. Recognising the great potential of virtual reality, the HUG confirms its commitment to innovation with the creation of this dedicated centre, a unique structure that brings together different engineering professions, neuroscientists and doctors. “This centralisation of skills and projects between the partners opens the door to great collaborations,” concludes Oliver Kannape.
The Centre’s research activities
The CMV also provides direct support for research and application projects. It is an active centre for basic and translational patient research. It is composed of engineers, clinical assistants, as well as junior and senior research assistants financed by research grants and collaborations between the HUG, the Campus Biotech Geneva Foundation, the EPFL and the HES schools.
The CMV works hand in hand with academic partners as well as with specialized companies such as MindMaze SA or OramaVR.