In the 90s television series, 'The Magic School Bus', Ms. Frizzle leads her shrunken students on scientific adventure through the human body. The tiny bus whips through the esophagus and down to the heart as the students learn how the human body works from the inside out. Today, doctors at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford are getting an idea of what it would be like to be on the Magic School Bus, but in real life. Thanks to immersive new technology called the Stanford Virtual Heart, medical trainees and doctors are able to transport themselves inside one of the most complex organs in the body.
Every year in the United States, nearly 40,000 babies are born with congenital heart defects. These defects are some of the most difficult conditions to understand. Using the virtual heart, doctors can get a view of defects from all angles, so they can see how different defects affect the heart. Once doctors understand the defect, they can take steps to fix it. The virtual heart allows doctors to practice surgery as many times as they need, and this kind of training that could save thousands of lives.
'The Magic School Bus' learning style this technology provides is an example of the endless possibilities virtual reality can bring to health care. As this technology expands to other parts of the body, doctors around the world will gain a better understanding of the needs of their patients.