Virtual reality learning suite for radiation therapy

people wearing 3d glasses viewing medical scanning simulation

From 2012 radiation therapy students studying at the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Health Sciences will experience the latest development in simulated learning technology. The Virtual Environment for Radiotherapy Training (VERT) system, a 3D virtual reality learning suite, was recently installed at Cumberland Campus providing immense opportunities for clinical skill development and research into simulated learning environments.

The VERT system uses immersive visualisation technology to simulate a radiation therapy treatment room containing a life-size 3D virtual linear accelerator and treatment couch. The hybrid learning environment allows users to operate the virtual linear accelerator using an actual hand pendant, simulating radiation therapy clinical scenarios.

The technology provides students with a safe environment that is free from time pressures commonly encountered in busy radiation therapy departments, thus increasing students’ confidence and competence prior to attending clinical placements. VERT will also be used to reinforce key radiation therapy concepts to help bridge the gap between theory and practice.

The project is funded by the Department of Health and Ageing under a joint submission from the University of Sydney, the University of South Australia, the University of Newcastle, Queensland University of Technology, Monash University and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University. The collaboration aims to share learning resources through the creation of an academic community of practice and to build partnerships with clinical departments to encourage the use of VERT for research, education and quality assurance programs from the wider professional community.