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C. Surgical Training Using Virtual Simulations

Narrator: This is Science Today. Across the country, virtual reality simulations are being used to teach first year medical students how a real surgery looks and feels. Martin Banks, a professor of optometry and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, is at the forefront of this movement and explains how his development of force feedback technology is changing modern medicine.

Banks: What we can do is create a visual touch, virtual environment that simulates the patient and the patient's heart. And what that means is when went in with a scalpel in this device we can actually create the visual impression of a heart and the feel that a heart would return to the scalpel.

Narrator: : By using virtual reality to create accurate simulations, students can encounter unusual heart conditions and practice their technique without putting a patient at risk. Banks also hopes to advance capabilities for remote surgery, which would allow the surgeon and the patient to be in different locations. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.