Researchers from the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Lucerne Cantonal Hospital and the University of Lucerne are developing innovative augmented reality training to better protect healthcare professionals from X-rays.
In a hospital, various medical professionals are exposed to an increased risk from X-rays, including radiologists. For this reason, they receive special radiation protection training. Scientists from the Lucerne Cantonal Hospital (LUKS), the Department of Informatics at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU) and the Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine at the University of Lucerne are currently researching how this could be enriched with interactive, digital teaching techniques. As part of a joint project, they are developing and testing training courses based on augmented reality (AR) technology - that is, the projection of digital content into the real world. Special AR glasses are used for this. For the first time, these allow users to virtually "see" the simulated radiation exposure in the room and practice how to protect themselves even better against it.
Location-independent, safe and repeatable
"The biggest challenge in radiation protection is that you can’t perceive the radiation itself or the effectiveness of your own protective behavior in your everyday work," explains phil. Thiago Lima, senior diagnostic medical physicist at LUKS. He is conducting the project as part of his habilitation at the University of Lucerne; it is partly funded by the research grant of the Swiss Society for Radiobiology and Medical Physics (SGSMP).
"AR enables employees exposed to radiation to learn important practices to further reduce occupational health risks," Lima says. For Tobias Kreienbühl, project manager on the part of HSLU, augmented reality also has great potential in medical education. "An important advantage is that the technology is independent of time and place," he explains, "so you don’t have to rely on specially equipped premises for training." With AR, learning content can be conveyed realistically and without safety concerns, while exercises can also be repeated as often as desired.