Virtual Heart

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The presentation of the virtual heart took place on February 1, 2018 in the virtual anatomy room in Collegium Medicum.

- We have a huge satisfaction to provide students with this innovative solution - the virtual heart, - said Vice-Rector Professor Wieslawa Piątkowska-Stepaniak welcoming guests. The application has been donated by the Water and Sewage Company (WiK), which also financed the development of that app. We are deeply grateful for this support, and we express our heartfelt thanks to the authorities of the company.

Virtual reality serving big goals

The medical school of the University of Opole is the first in Poland to use the Virtual Heart app.

Michał Grzesiczek from The Farm 51 from Gliwice, responsible for the project (carried out jointly with the University of Opole and the Prof. Zbigniew Religa Foundation for the Development of Cardiac Surgery) presented the application:

- The biggest advantage of this application lies in the fact that students or doctors can see the heart as it really is, beating and working. In its development we used the heart of a pig, anatomically very similar to the human heart. Thanks to the use of photogrammetric, this model of the heart is photorealistic. In addition to the static presentation of the heart structure, the application shows its work in normal conditions and after the consumption of alcohol. Additionally, the application shows pathologies of the tricuspid valve. What does the student gain by using the application? Instead of turning flat sheets of anatomical atlas they can see the heart in three dimensions, rotate it, have its sections, zoom in, see about a hundred anatomical elements, and observe how it is working. The application requires special goggles for viewing virtual reality.

Virtual Heart - the latest application developed by The Farm 51 from Gliwice - is directed primarily to medical students and doctors. It will help deepen the understanding of the anatomy of the heart, but also better prepare, for example, to complex operations.

Michał Grzesiczek also said that he had been very proud to be able to collaborate with the University in Opole creating the virtual heart. - As it turns out, virtual reality can be used not only for entertainment, but for big goals as well. He added that further developmentof the application was planned.

First year students of medicine were also present and they were really impressed. – The possibilities seem to be endless, it is really impressive, - said one of them, adding that studying anatomy with the help of such tools will be much easier. It is a great facilitation of learning, and it will be of great help in our development as students.

First the virtual heart, and then ...

- Today's inauguration makes it possible to provide students with an application presenting the heart in virtual reality, - said Prof. Wiesława Piątkowska-Stepaniak. - This is a very important moment, because our students gain a fantastic tool for learning, which is constitutes a higher stage of didactics. We are so proud that the University of Opole is the first university in Poland to use such a tool and we plan to develop that tool even further. We have a virtual heart but we need a whole human body, with the majority of its organs in VR. We realize that it requires years of hard work but one has to have a vision and follow it. Even more so, if there is a company - WiK - which recognizes the need for innovative didactic solutions, for which I am immensely grateful.

- Our company has been interested in the medical school at the University of Opole since the first information about its establishment appeared, - said Vice President of WiK Mateusz Filipowski. - The issue of health and life of Opole citizens is very important to us as a provider of drinking water. We decided that the virtual heart project was worth financing. We are very pleased and proud that we can support the Medical School at the University of Opole, and I can assure you that we will not stop supporting it. The virtual heart is just the beginning of our cooperation - he said.

Keep pace with the times

Prof. Piotr Wilczek from the Foundation for the Development of Cardiac Surgery in Zabrze, stressed that the possibility to use the virtual heart application in teaching and learning anatomy can never be overestimated. - It gives students an opportunity to study at the world level, the opportunity to observe how the heart works virtually in real conditions. Thanks to it, teaching and learning anatomy and pathology of heart can easier and more effective. Besides, let us remember that the curriculum offered to students should be more and more attractive and keep up with the times. We must not, after all, stop at the stage of clay tablets.

It is difficult for me to hide my emotions - said Prof. Zenon Halaba. - My dream was to be able to use virtual reality in medicine, and my dream has just come true. It would not be possible if not for the wide horizons and courage of Professor Piątkowska-Stepaniak, who recognised the value of the idea and decided to implement it. Thanks to virtual reality we can develop new curricula. Teaching medicine with the use virtual reality will make the patient much safer, - added Prof. Halaba.

Then, Prof. Marian Simka said - On behalf of students I would like to thank for this remarkable idea. I hope that this is just the beginning and that the project will grow.

Finally, the application was formally handed over by The Farm 51 to the University of Opole. The official document was signed by: Prof. Marian Simka (Medical School), Marek Ganczarski (Director of the IT Centre), Prof. Zenon Halaba (Medical School), Prof. Piotr Wilczek (Foundation for the Development of Cardiac Surgery), Piotr Budzisz (The Farm 51), and Michał Grzesiczek (The Farm 51).

Virtual Heart - first such application in Poland. See how it works