Collage of HIT Team mixed reality simulation for medical rehabiltation
Collage of the HIT Team's Mixed Reality simulations to support medical rehabilitation

The work of Virtual Reality (VR) expert, Professor Robert Stone, Director of the Human Interface Technologies Team (HIT) at the University of Birmingham, has appeared in a “transforming healthcare” feature piece published by The Telegraph, to coincide with the NHS’s 70th anniversary.

The article highlights Professor Stone’s work with developing VR to further support patients and even save lives. At Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the HIT Team has been developing innovative VR-based rehabilitation solutions to help patients recover after complex limb injuries or for lung and diaphragm exercises following gastro-intestinal operations.

Professor Stone’s research is now having an even wider impact across the NHS as he and his researchers are working with Torbay Hospital in the south west of the country. They have already donated two rehabilitation systems to the hospital there for use with Intensive Care patients. 

The HIT Team is also working with London-based Wavelength VR to develop a series of “Garden Quests”, the aim of which is to provide relaxing and challenging garden scenarios to help children suffering from chronic pain.

Professor Stone’s work with the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (see collage below) is also mentioned in the Telegraph piece. Of that work he said: “the Mixed Reality Medical Emergency Response Team trainer project is really pushing the boundaries of what VR technologies can deliver.

“With just one inflatable enclosure, we can create the illusion that the trainee medics are flying in a Chinook helicopter or speeding along the surface of the sea in a Royal Marines hovercraft. This is created using VR techniques, but at all times, the trainees can see their own arms and hands and touch and interact with a physical and highly realistic mannequin”.

Collage of HIT Team mixed reality defence training

He concludes: “Since my first steps into VR, back in 1987, the healthcare domain has always presented simulation developers with the biggest technical challenges. I’m really proud to be leading such a capable team of researchers to bring to reality what we could only have dreamed of in the 1990s”.

In the past 12 months, Professor Stone and the HIT Team’s research has been recognise with two community awards. In July 2017, the team was awarded the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network Innovative Team of the Year award and in April 2018 Professor Stone picked up the LiveWire Global Award for his team's contribution to medical creativity, vision and ethical practice.

To read the full article and to learn more about the new technologies transforming healthcare, please follow the link below:

The Telegraph - The new technologies transforming healthcare