Tag Archives: Virtual Worlds

Our Showcase Entry

Imperial College Postgraduate Medical School in Second Life

Medical School is in the Scilands

Medical School is now listed in the Linden Lab Showcase, leading to an instant increase in visitor numbers. The island incorporates the Immersive Clinical Scenario that was a finalist in the Linden Prize and is featured in 2nd place in the Showcase’s Education category. Our other projects are all listed here.


Virtual Worlds and Inflatable Operating Theatres at NHS Innovations Expo

Lord Darzi's Keynote

Lord Darzi's Keynote

Lord Darzi addressed a packed auditorium at NHS Innovations Expo this week. The evidence shows that those organisations that are open to innovation are more cost effective and deliver higher quality care than those that lag behind the adoption curve.

I would like to report on the other speakers and workshops at this incredible event, and on the myriad of innovations that were showcased for 2 days in the London Docklands to thousands of visitors, but my colleagues and I were constantly busy demonstrating Imperial College’s innovations including robotic beating heart surgery, the inflatable operating theatre, an improved resuscitation “crash” trolley and of course our virtual operating theatres and wards in Second Life.

More of Imperial’s innovations at the Expo including a movie can be seen here.

The Government has made available a £220 million innovation fund to help get innovative ideas supported and implemented, and to back that up the regional Strategic Health Authorities now have a legal duty to promote innovation in their organisations. My blog is entitled ‘Virtual World Innovations’ because I believe that they provide a fantastic environment for people to share their innovations, as well as enabling service innovations for the future. I spoke to many people at the Expo who agreed that the NHS islands in Second Life could provide a permanent Innovations Expo.

Watch this space!

Clinical scenarios – training in a safe environment

Clinical Scenario Orientation

Medical devices are common technologies that the majority of healthcare professionals must be familiar with, and yet device associated incidents account for a significant proportion of medical errors. In this project the Department of Biosurgery and Surgical Technologies at Imperial College London designed, built and tested a scenario-based simulation in the 3D virtual world of Second Life. Our research illustrated the use of Second Life as a novel platform for immersive clinical training. Participants were able to learn and practice in a complex but safe environment where they could make mistakes without risk to any real patients. The project was awarded a ‘Special Mention’ by Linden Lab as an innovative virtual world project that improves the way people work, learn and communicate in their daily lives outside of the virtual world..

This walkthough illustrates the pilot project which was funded by NHS Training for Innovation:

Twitter taking off in US Businesses

Gartner have made another apocryphal prediction, that by 2011, enterprise microblogging would be a standard feature of 80 per cent of social software platforms. The most popular would be Twitter, but other apps could also include Plurk and Jaiku. Whether apocryphal or unquestionably trivial no doubt this statement will now be repeated ad nauseam in conference after conference just like their 2007 virtual worlds prediction (that 80% of active internet users will have a virtual worlds account by 2011, not necessarily Second Life).

According to Gartner the four ways businesses can use Twitter are:

Direct: Twitter can be used as a marketing or public relations channel, much like corporate blogs. At a minimum, companies should register their major brand names.

Indirect: Company employees are using Twitter to enhance their personal and company reputations. It can raise profiles of individuals and the organisations they work for.

Internal: Employees are using Twitter to communicate what they are doing and what ideas occur to them. That said, Gartner warned there was no guarantee of security.

Inbound signalling: Twitter streams and search tools can provide information about what customers and competitors are saying about the company.

A busy 6 months

Speaking at Handheld Learning in RL

Speaking at "Handheld Learning" in RL

NHS Confederation at the National Health Service Auditorium

NHS Confederation at the National Health Service Auditorium

Over the past 6 months I’ve spoken about virtual worlds at the following events:

Feb 19 2009: Design London at Imperial College Business School: Accelerating Innovation Cycle Time Through Innovation Technologies (IvT) Workshop where I introduced Second Life as a disruptive technology for design prototyping and visualisation; whereby anyone can experience and share 3D visualisations around the globe instead of needing to visit a particular high cost installation. I likened this to the democratisation of print that occurred with the advent of desktop publishing and of online publishing with Web 2.0.

Feb 11 2009: British Library: Digital Lives Research Project. Here I followed my frequent fellow panelists Ian Hughes and Ren Reynolds by introducing the SciLands and International Spaceflight Museum to ask the question “what do you archive if you wish to preserve the current social phenomenon of Second Life?”. The key here is that these are venues and despite the grandeur of their interactive architecture they serve as a (very effective) context for the rich social interactions and events that occur there. Jerome McDonough of the University of Illinois followed on by speaking about their project to archive the International Spaceflight Museum and other game/virtual worlds, and drew the conclusion that archivists need to engage with the virtual world communities and provide their users with the tools needed to preserve the culture.

On the same day, Feb 11th, Kate, Vishal, Robin, Ani and I ran a Second Life event for the NHS Confederation and the NHS Technology Adoption Centre, entitled Embracing Healthcare Technology and Innovation. I ran 800m after facilitating the SL breakout session at BMA House over to the British Library where I finished writing up the session while I was waiting to speak at the Digital Lives event (above). Given another 100 years of development I might be able to teleport that distance in RL. Delegates at this normally closed meeting were joined by over 70 virtual delegates from Finland, Singapore, USA, Canada, Norway, Italy, UK, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Turkey and Serbia. Whereas the RL audience attended the whole of the day long event, our virtual delegates were able to come and go at will. Only 50% were present at any one time, but 35 people clocked up almost 1 hour’s attendance each. A poll of the RL audience revealed that just over half had heard of Second Life prior to the event, and that two thirds would like to see more NHS events use Second Life. Good news for the National Health Service Auditorium.

December 2008: I spoke at a conference on Government and Serious Games, organised by Futurelab and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR). Here is a video of my presentation at the event.

The conference focussed on the role that serious games and virtual worlds might play in education, public services, and government policy. One outcome was to help stimulate new ideas for policy, business development and research to ensure that serious games and virtual worlds are recognised as a distinct cultural form with a role in public services. The day featured speakers from BERR and Futurelab as well as senior staff from Becta, DIUS, the Technology Strategy Board, Immersive Education, Caspian Games, Blitz Games, and the MoD. Keynote presentations were provided by Lord Puttnam of Queensgate and Tom Watson MP, Minister for Transformational Government, who argued that it is time to bring games to the heart of government. It was attended by key government departments and agencies, research centres, serious games companies, and the entertainment games industry.

November 2008: The American Medical Informatics Association in Washington DC hosted a featured panel titled ‘A Virtual World as a Healthcare Information Platform‘ to introduce members to the wonders of our projects in Second Life. James was in Washington and presented some of our work, then I led a tour through our Virtual Learning Hospital from the comfort of my living room in London. The session was run primarily within SL itself, and the audience in Washington were also treated to live presentations by Pathfinder Linden, Dan Hoch, Ramesh Ramloll and Dan Sands. After the conference Hibiscus Hastings (who blogged the SL conference) requested an interview and tour for an ‘onCNN’ article (vetted for use in CNN News coverage).

October 2008: The Handheld Learning Conference is billed as the international signature event for learning using mobile or ubiquitous technologies. This year I was invited to speak on a panel to help attendees understand the implications of Virtual Worlds and Social Networks for teaching and learning. Fellow panelists included Alan Welsman of Disney who spoke about the significance of virtual worlds for Disney’s family demographic (for example young kids playing on club penguin with their grandparents), my metaversangelist friend Ian Hughes/ePredator of IBM, Forterran Ron Edwards of Ambient Performance and Kurt Squire. We were joined for the panel discussion by dana boyd, fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society whose insistence on lower case typography for her name, reminded me of my Letraset days. dana’s research on youth’s use of social networking is insightful and her keynote presentation is essential viewing.

October 2008: Virtual Worlds Forum Europe in London

September 2008: Serious Applications of Virtual Worlds (Imperial College Internet Centre)

September 2008: Serious Virtual Worlds Conference 2008

For more presentations see my Presentations page in this blog.

Growth in Virtual World events predicted

The need for physicians to attend International events has been debated in the British Medical Journal. See for example: Surgeons have held conferences in Second Life; Leong, Kinross, Taylor, Purkayastha; Imperial College London; BMJ 2008 337: a683 where we reported that all of the delegates at the 1st meeting of the newly formed international Virtual Association of Surgeons (iVAS) agreed or strongly agreed that they would attend another meeting in the same medium. iVAS is a group of surgeons and scientists who want to change the way scientific communications are currently conducted. Their conferences are held entirely within the virtual world. This lowers the cost of attending, negates the need to travel and creates novel surgical research networks across the world. See http://ivas.wordpress.com/

Originally posted as a comment by Nanodave on The Metaverse Journal using Disqus.

Medical Media and Design Lab at Imperial College London

MMDL LogoA new research group has been initiated headed by Professor Ara Darzi – the Medical Media and Design Laboratory (MMDL). This group will study and redefine the way that new digital media is used in healthcare. It will develop and innovate within the technological fields of web science, the online metaverse, serious games and human interface technologies. Its focus will be on the development of novel on line technologies and how they may be best utilised for professional and public health education, medical innovation and service delivery. Further information from Dave Taylor, Programme Lead, Virtual Worlds and Medical Media.