Rapid change is under way on sever fronts I medicine and surgery. Advance in computing power have enable continued growth in virtual reality, visualization, and simulation technologies. The ideal learning opportunities afforded by simulated and virtual environments have prompted their exploration as learning modalities for surgical education and training. Ongoing improvements in this technology suggest an important future role for virtual reality and simulation in medicine.
Medical virtual reality has come a long way in the past 10 years as a result of advances in computer imaging, software, hardware and display devices. Commercialisation of VR systems will depend on proving that they are cost effective and can improve the quality of care. One of the current limitations of VR implementation is shortcomings in the realism of the simulations. The main Impediment to realistic simulators is the cost and processing power of available hardware. Another factor hindering the progress and acceptability of VR applications is the need to improve human-computer interfaces, which can involve use of heavy head-mounted displays or bulky VR gloves that impede movement. There is also the problem of time delays in the simulator?s response to the users movements. Conflicts between sensory information can result in stimulator sickness, which includes side effects such as eyestrain, nausea, loss of balance and disorientation. Commercialisation of VR systems must also address certain legal and regulatory issues.