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Keesler leverages virtual reality to train robotic surgery

Virtual reality technology is displayed inside the Keesler Medical Center at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Oct. 5, 2021. The VR technology created safer, efficient and more consistent training for robotics technicians. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Seth Haddix)

Virtual reality technology is displayed inside the Keesler Medical Center at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Oct. 5, 2021. The VR technology created safer, efficient and more consistent training for robotics technicians. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Seth Haddix)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Francis Xavier Malinao, uses new virtual reality technology inside the Keesler Medical Center at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Oct. 5, 2021. The VR technology created safer, efficient and more consistent training for robotics technicians. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Seth Haddix)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Francis Xavier Malinao, uses new virtual reality technology inside the Keesler Medical Center at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Oct. 5, 2021. The VR technology created safer, efficient and more consistent training for robotics technicians. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Seth Haddix)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Francis Xavier Malinao, uses new virtual reality technology inside the Keesler Medical Center at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Oct. 5, 2021. The VR technology created safer, efficient and more consistent training for robotics technicians. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Seth Haddix)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Francis Xavier Malinao, uses new virtual reality technology inside the Keesler Medical Center at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Oct. 5, 2021. The VR technology created safer, efficient and more consistent training for robotics technicians. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Seth Haddix)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

In March 2020, Keesler was faced with newfound restrictions due to the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Keesler’s vital role in the training mission, the 81st Surgical Operations Squadron pushed forward in finding a new way to safely train on robotic surgery. After reaching out to their partner, Immersive Health Technologies, the 81st SGCS worked with them to implement virtual reality equipment and courses.

“I am a hands-on learner,” said Airman 1st Class Richard Styles, 81st SGCS robotics technician. “Having the ability to use VR to simulate how to use the robot really helped me feel more comfortable with the robot features and functions.”

This technology allows students to learn at their convenience in their own environment, increasing COVID-19 safety for students and patients, while creating an accurate and interactive simulated operating room.

The training consists of 11 online learning modules and seven virtual reality scenarios that give students the opportunity to repeat training without affecting patient health.

“I like the integration with online training and virtual reality,” said Airman 1st Class Yadira Gibson, 81st SGCS robotics technician. “I feel this training boosted our confidence using the robot, while increasing the team’s ability to problem solve quickly.”