Everyone wants their surgeon to be perfectly prepared, but there are few affordable ways for medical residents to practice without putting patients at risk. Virtual-reality simulators help, but they have at least one major limitation. “You can’t touch the environment in a meaningful way,” says Richard Vincent, CEO of FundamentalVR, whose VR surgical simulator fixes that by incorporating haptic feedback (similar to a smartphone’s vibration) so doctors can “feel” their actions as if they were really performing surgery.
Crucially, the system uses hardware-agnostic technology and costs as little as $8,000—far less than traditional training systems—which makes it more accessible to surgeons around the world. Some 50 hospitals are already using it, including big names like the Mayo Clinic. —Jamie Ducharme