Video: Blood gushes from virtual leg injury to help train combat medics
If you’re very squeamish, look away now. Researchers have created the first detailed simulation of a human leg injured by flying shrapnel, gushing blood and all. The goal is to train combat medics on a virtual patient that reacts in realistic ways.
“We’re genuinely hopeful that our simulations will enhance the educational experience for medical trainees,” saysof the University of California, Los Angeles, who led the work. “But I’m really pleased just to get visceral reactions from my kids. That probably makes me a horrible father.”
Although Hollywood CGI artists are no strangers to this kind of gore, the team’s simulation is the first to show exactly what happens with real injuries. “We are solving the governing equations of fluid dynamics and tissue mechanics, so these are truly physics-based simulations,” says Eldredge.
The team simulated a leg penetrated by a projectile because the prevalence ofon the battlefield means this is a commonly injured body part for soldiers. It also has a simple geometry that is relatively easy to model.
True to life
The simulation – which includes bone, muscle and skin, along with a realistic vascular system that drives the flow of blood – wasthis week.
The team hopes to eventually run the simulation in real time, allowing trainee medics to administer treatments such as a tourniquet or drugs and see a realistic reaction immediately.
But for now, solving the necessary fluid-dynamic equations is too computationally intensive. Would-be medics currently study injuries to real animals, an approach that the team would like to replace.
“A visually faithful representation of the injury and bleeding is an important part of that,” says Eldredge, who isn’t fazed by the sight of virtual blood. “I have a pretty strong constitution, and I admit that, after seeing some of the gruesome pictures of real combat injuries, I wasn’t as disgusted as I probably should have been.”
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