Serious game development company Grendel Games presented a very unique product today at Games for Health: A laparoscopy training game that has almost nothing to do with laparoscopy. To paint a clearer picture, last time we checked there weren’t any mad scientists, robots, or goop that turn into monsters in laparoscopic procedures. However, this is exactly the point. The speaker, Tim Laning, boldly proclaimed “This is not a simulator, this is a seriously entertaining game.”
He went on to say while ultra-realistic laparoscopy simulators are effective and impressive pieces of technology, they are expensive and more importantly, they aren’t fun. Residents don’t seem to train as much on simulators as they should be. His solution is to create a game that gives the user the psychomotor training he needs to be an effective minimally invasive surgeon, while also being fun and interesting.
The game is in an early prototype phase, and while it will be available for the Wii and the PS3 Move, only the Wii version was demonstrated. As shown in the picture, the hardware utilizes the Wii controllers to translate the motion of the laparoscopy tools to the game on-screen.
In order to prove its effectiveness Grendel Games is piloting a study to compare people using their software, people using 3D simulators, and people with no training at all.
While Grendel Games wants surgeons to train using their software, they are also targeting the retail market. They figure that young budding surgeons-to-be can get a head start and would be willing to shell out a little bit of extra dough for the unique hardware set-up.
This idea is definitely an astonishingly unique take in the highly active field of minimally invasive surgery training. While the prototype is still too early to make any judgments, we worry that it might be a bit too out there for established surgeons and residents, and might be a little too complex for the average retail customer. We hope for the best for Grendel and will continue to follow this brilliant and innovative technology.
Unfortunately, the demo wasn’t working quite right. See a video of the simulator in action (somewhat) below:
Link: Grendel Games