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Augmented reality kit for Paramedic students all the rage at Ambulance Authorities Conference

Published:14 October 2015

A kit that paramedic students can use to visualise dealing with a throat blockage has been a hit at the Council of Ambulance Authorities conference in Melbourne this week.

A kit that paramedic students can use to visualise dealing with a throat blockage has been a hit at the 2015 Council of Ambulance Authorities (CAA) Conference and the 11th Annual International Roundtable on Community Paramedicine (IRCP) in Melbourne this week.

CQUniversity and Bond University researchers launched the kit earlier this year as part of a cutting-edge pilot study using 3D printing and augmented reality gaming technology to assist paramedic students studying via distance education. 

This project stems from an identified need for distance students to have more opportunity to practice skills outside residential school.

CQUniversity researcher Dr Michael Cowling, who worked with academic colleague Emma Moore and Bond University's Dr James Birt on the kit project, said there was plenty of interest at the CAA event and also at last week's Paramedics Australasia International Conference in Adelaide, where it was presented by CQUni academic Laura Baxter.

Dr Cowling said that, in accepting his CAA conference presentation, organisers had commented that the 'remarkable developments' were well-suited to an even longer time-slot than that available for a presentation.

The research study involves Paramedic Science students utilising mixed-media visualisation techniques to receive hands-on experience in removing blockages from the throat using a pair of 3D printed forceps and a laryngoscope, a scythe-shaped instrument.

The students are sent the instruments and an augmented reality simulation 'smartphone app', developed by Bond University Assistant Professor Dr James Birt, which is viewed through a mobile phone mounted in a commercially available $25 stereoscopic headset.

The technology allows students who are studying from rural and remote areas to practice laryngoscopy skills via the game-like simulation before arriving at residential school, with additional skills training provided to the remaining students during residential school.