Dr. Wii MD

Dr. Wii MD

Get to practicing your cuts and pokes.

(Live Science) – The popular Nintendo Wii console offers video games that venture into the world of exercise, but scientists now are taking it further, to help doctors heal the body.

The key behind the Wii is its motion-sensitive wireless controller, the Wii Remote, or the “Wiimote,” with which players control actions on screen. Players can swing the controller to simulate countless realistic motions, such as swatting a baseball for a home run. Such technology is becoming increasingly popular — at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Sony and Microsoft both revealed motion-sensitive game controllers.

Playing with the Wii could help surgeons in training improve their fine motor skills and performance in a surgical simulator. Eight trainees were asked to play the Wii for an hour before performing virtual laparoscopic surgery with a tool that simulates a patient’s body and tracks the surgeon’s movements as he or she operates.

The Wii-playing residents scored 48 percent higher than others without the warm-up with the Wii, working faster and more accurately.

Although the researchers first relied on off-the-shelf Wii games, they will soon release a complete surgical training system they designed for the Wii, where trainees can practice suturing and other procedures.

“There’s really no accurate way to train surgeons in the operating room, so it’s virtually all the on-the-job training, which is very time-inefficient,” explained researcher Mark Smith, an endoscopic surgeon at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Arizona. “There are surgery simulators out there, but these are still very expensive. With the Wii, we have a very easy and inexpensive platform where surgery residents can learn and develop their skills.”

“You can even have the surgeons train at home,” added researcher Kanav Kahol, a biomedical informatician at Arizona State University. Although the Wii could help surgeons train in virtually any surgical specialty, the researchers are especially interested in using the console to teach robotic surgery, where surgeons can use robots for precise, minimally invasive procedures or to help patients at remote locations.

[Original article at Live Science]

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