Military Seeks Tech Tools to Train MDs

Monday, December 27th 2004, 10:48 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Hollywood visual effects wizards and video game programmers: U.S. military doctors want you.

The military sees technologies from the entertainment industry as potential tools for honing the skills of medics.

They could better simulate the difficult conditions and types of wounds medics are likely to encounter during war time, said Dr. Greg Mogel, West Coast director of the U.S. Army's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center.

``When you see Spider-Man climbing up the building in a very realistic way, I can use the same technology to create a patient that has Parkinson's and create motion disorders,'' Mogel said. ``When a character in a video game or movie is killed ... the graphics they use to show what that wound would look like is absolutely something we need to expose all health care workers to.''

While the military has long used video game technology to train pilots and other personnel for combat, it is just beginning to consider similar uses for medics.

Simulators known as ``Caves'' already place trainees in immersive environments that use virtual reality, Mogel said, but there are only 10 of them, and quality is poor despite spending ``millions and millions of dollars trying to come up with realistic images.''

``We buy a $29 video game and it's there,'' Mogel said.