Monday, May 13, 2013

Simulated Aircraft Deicing at Ramstein Air Base in Germany

The aircraft deicing training simulator that ForgeFX developed for Global Ground Support was recently installed at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The 3D simulator is a computer-based virtual training simulation system that provides an operator with the ability to practice and take a “performance test”, while performing a virtual aircraft deicing event in a 3D environment.

Aircraft Deicing Simulator
Aircraft Deicing Training Simulator at Ramstein Air Base

Air Force Staff Sgt. William Carter, 721st Aerial Port Squadron, instructs Chief Master Sgt. Martin S. Klukas, command senior enlisted leader, U.S. Transportation Command on the deicing simulator while Air Force Gen. William M. Fraser III, commander, U.S. Transportation Command looks on during their tour to the 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Virtual Reality Cooking Simulator

When I was a kid, my parents had each kid cook dinner once a week. We could cook whatever we wanted, just find a recipe in a cookbook, write the ingredients on the shopping list, and take your best shot. In theory I think the idea was well intended, but as a kid without any training in the culinary arts, I was ill-prepared to cook a good meal. Long story short, I "cooked" hot dogs boiled in beer. Everyone hated it, the house stunk, we had a pizza delivered, and I was relieved of cooking duty in return for an extra night of clean up per week. If only there was a fun, immersive, and comprehensive method to train kids to cook...

Say hello to the interactive 3D cooking simulator, featuring a force feedback frying pan and spatula, being developed by a research group at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
3D Cooking Training Simulator
Tokyo Institute of Technology's Cooking Simulator
The interactive frying pan interface includes a haptic feedback component that seeks to recreate the feeling of real-world cooking. The weight of the contents in the frying pan is conveyed back to the user in addition to the tactile feeling of the ingredients being moved and cooked in the pan. The simulator combines a real-time heat conduction simulator and physics rigid body engine, that collectively calculate the heat transferred from the pan to the virtual ingredients and displays the visual changes as they occur.

Tokyo Institute of Technology's Cooking Simulator
The simulator calculates moisture rate evaporation in the ingredients as the temperature rises, and displays visual cues such as proteins turning from red to brown, or vegetables getting darker. This training simulator, while unique, is a great example of how simulated training could help lead to less food waste and cooking related injuries, or at a minimum fewer homes that smell like hot dogs boiled in beer.


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Tuesday, May 07, 2013

3D Visualization to Revolutionize Medical and Dental Training

NHS Education for Scotland, Scotland's Health Service's training organization, recently commissioned the Glasgow School of Art’s Digital Design Studio to develop a 3D Digital Head and Neck Simulator. The tool will enable medical trainees to view, manipulate, and interact with a 3D head in real-time in order to develop an understanding of the anatomy and learn diagnostic techniques and procedures. The application includes accurate visualizations of the skeleton, nervous system, blood supply, muscles, supporting tissues, and lymphatic drainage.

3D Head and Neck Muscle and Nerve Visualization
The simulator includes an interactive 3D dental training module that enables trainees to physically feel what it is like to give a local anesthetic injection, and then check that the injection was successfully and safely administered. Academics at the University of Glasgow Dental School and Department of Anatomy, as well as surgeons and teaching staff at the Centre for Health Science at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, acting as subject matter experts consulted on the project to ensure simulation accuracy.

Interactive Dental Injection Simulator
The simulator contains a virtual needle injection component, that uses haptic feedback to allow users to develop the necessary tactile sense of touch and feeling that will be required to give real-world injections.
"The 3D Digital Head and Neck has been one of the most important multidisciplinary research projects undertaken by the Digital Design Studio to date," said Paul Anderson, director of the Glasgow School of Art’s Digital Design Studio.
Additional 3D teaching laboratories are currently being developed in Glasgow, Dundee, Inverness, and Stornoway, with similar laboratories are being developed in Dumfries and Aberdeen to ensure that the 3D packages are available to a wider range of students. Simulation-based training environments like these provide the education that is needed in a safe, risk-free, and affordable setting. Trainees can practice over and over until they have mastered the required techniques, resulting in more effective and successful clinical procedures.


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Monday, May 06, 2013

Simulators Essential to Power Plant Operator Training

When it comes to deciding if a training simulator will deliver a return on investment for any industry, you have to look at the cost benefit analysis to determine if the benefits of a project will outweigh the costs. When conducting this valuation, you need to assess the costs of potential accidents that will hopefully be mitigated through the training provided by your investment in the simulator project. Typically, a simulator project will have a greater rate of return on investment when the equipment cost, potential damage that can be done with the equipment, and the threat to human safety, are at higher rates than average. When combined, the need for a comprehensive training simulator is obvious to achieve a high rate of success.

Perhaps nowhere in the industrial world is this more evident then when it come to power generating stations. Most power plants burn either coal, oil, or natural gas. A smaller percentage use nuclear fission to generate heat, while an even smaller percentage use renewable sources like solar, wind, and water. With the cost to develop, run, and maintain the plants coupled with the potential hazards and risks posed to the public by errant operation all at high levels - the requirement for power plant training simulators is an obvious need.

The Yokogawa Electric Corporation, a large Japanese electrical engineering and software company, best known for their production of control systems, recently announced that their subsidiary Yokogawa Middle East B.S.C. received an order to provide systems and operator training simulators for combined cycle power plants. In a typical combined cycle power plant, a gas or oil turbine generates electricity, while waste heat is used to make steam which generates additional electricity. The training simulators that Yokogawa will develop will be used to train operators at the Saudi Arabian Shoaiba II oil burning combined cycle power and desalination plant on the coast of the Red Sea. The virtual simulator will be used to train operators on every thing from basic plant control function testing to complex simulated plant operating emergencies. When your country, or kingdom, holds one of the world's largest oil reserves you need to make sure that your plant operators receive the highest level of training, and virtual training simulators have been proven to provide just that.

Power Plant Training Simulator
Nuclear Power Plant Training Simulator
In China, at Sanmen and Haiyang Nuclear Power Plants, Westinghouse Electric Company recently announced they had successfully installed AP1000 two-loop pressurized water nuclear reactor plant simulators. These training simulators are considered to be the most modern nuclear plant simulators in the world today. When discussing the project, William Poirier, Vice President, Westinghouse China AP1000 Projects said:
"We achieved these key delivery and training milestones with the help of our China partners and customers. Together, we are proud to have demonstrated this next step in delivering our world-class technology with AP1000 pressurised water reactors."
In Argentina, at the Embalse nuclear power station, L-3 MAPPS recently announced they had installed a training simulator for operators of the pressurized heavy water reactor. All of the plant’s operational systems are simulated, validated and maintained within the virtual environment. Systems include the reactor, steam supply systems, balance of plant systems, electrical systems and computer systems.

Power plant training simulators allow operators to improve their performance by providing clear virtual versions of the process and the technology. Operators become comfortable and confident experts at the controls of a complex power plant, a system that requires this level of operator training and expertise.


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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Simulated Training for Vascular Surgeons and Cardiologists

The leading provider of simulation-based medical education, Simbionix, recently released an update for their ANGIO Mentor™ line of endovascular simulators. This training simulator provides virtual hands-on practice in a simulated environment for a number of endovascular procedures. The update includes additional training modules that will allow surgeons to practice for complicated procedures, in a safe virtual environment where mistakes are learning lessons rather than costly mishaps.

Simulated Training for Vascular Surgeons and Cardiologists
Simulated Training for Vascular Surgeons and Cardiologists
The training simulator includes modules designed specifically for surgical trainees, that teach the fundamentals in regards to basic operation of the equipment. Once trainees are comfortable with the product and have mastered the controls, they are run through training sessions that instruct them on everything from wire-catheter manipulation, to core electrophysiology skills, to the treatment of structural heart diseases.

One of the most impressive features of this training simulator is that it allows surgeons to practice the introduction and interpretation of live echocardiography, including training on the following procedures:
  • Atrial Septal Defect Closure
  • Patent Foramen Ovale Closure
  • Left Atrial Appendage Closure
  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation
The new set of training modules for the endovascular simulator will be demonstrated next week at 4 different locations worldwide. This virtual reality training simulator, and the new modules that were recently created, will be showcased at:
  • The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions Scientific Sessions, May 8-11, Orlando, FL.
  • The Heart Rhythm Society's Annual Scientific Sessions, May 8-11, Denver, CO.
  • The European Symposium of Vascular Biomaterials, May 10-11, Strasbourg, France.
  • The European Association for Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions, May 21-24, Paris, France.
Simbionix offers training simulator products that provide virtual hands-on practice in a comprehensive simulated environments, for the following medical disciplines:
  • Interventional Radiology
  • Interventional Cardiology
  • Electrophysiology
  • Vascular Surgery
  • Interventional Neuroradiology and Thoracic Surgery
As medical devices, and the procedures they perform, continue to become increasingly complex, the training for these devices and procedures needs to keep up. Medical professionals who are now charged not only with the patient's safety, but also the responsibility to operate complicated medical equipment. In order to be fully competent they must have an expert level of the underlying medical issues, technical knowledge of how the device works, a complete mastery of the techniques required to perform the operation with the aid of the device, and of course exceptional hand-eye coordination skills that can only be obtained through repetitive practice of the procedure. All of these requirements can be satisfied through the use of training simulators that allow users to focus on condition-specific procedures, and learn by doing, in a safe and effective clinical training environment.

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