- How To Build A VR Simulator For Your Healthcare Business
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Interested in how to build a VR simulator for your healthcare business?
VR technology is a rapidly growing market that represents billions of dollars.
According to a study done by Globe News Wire, “the Virtual Reality Market is expected to reach USD 161.1 billion by 2025, witnessing 48.8% CAGR during the forecast period (2020–2025).”
Besides all the money you can make, innovating in this VR healthcare industry represents a chance to make a positive impact on people’s quality of life, as well as, make work easier for medical professionals like in understanding human anatomy, complex medical training, etc.
How to create a VR simulator for healthcare?
I will now explain the steps to create a VR simulator for healthcare, which are as follows:
1. Project scoping
I recommend that you define the following scope for this project:
- Offer a web app, moreover, offer Android and iOS apps.
- Include key features like VR simulation and collaboration using virtual rooms.
Note that a project to create a VR simulator for healthcare is a high-visibility one. You need to manage the project scope proactively, and you can get guidance on it in “Project scope management: what it is and how to do it (in 6 steps)”.
2. Agree on an SDLC model
A software development project to create a VR simulator for healthcare is a high-stakes project, moreover, it will have well-defined key features like the simulator and virtual room. The senior management in the healthcare institution would certainly want a project like this to go through structured reviews after key milestones.
I recommend that you use the Waterfall SDLC model for this since it has clearly defined phases, and you can conduct a thorough review after every phase. Read more about Waterfall in “What is software development life cycle and what you plan for?”.
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3. Build a project team
Your project team needs the following roles:
- A project manager (PM);
- Business analysts (BAs);
- User interface (UI) designers;
- VR developers;
- Web developers;
- Android developers;
- iOS developers;
You might weigh between hiring a freelancer vs. a field expert team, and our guide “Freelance app development team vs. field expert software development teams” can help you with this question.
When hiring VR developers, you should look for the following skills and competencies:
- Knowledge of SDLC;
- Familiarity with managed cloud services like Amazon EC2, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, etc.;
- Experience with well-known VR SDKs/APIs;
- Familiarity with web development using Node.js, Android development, iOS development, DevOps, and popular test automation frameworks;
- An ability to collaborate.
Read our guide “How to hire VR developers – the ultimate checklist” for more insights.
4. Formulate a development approach
I recommend that you use the following development approach:
- Use managed cloud services like a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) for developing the web app, and Mobile-Backend-as-a-Service (MBaaS) to develop mobile apps. This frees you up from managing the infrastructure.
- Utilize reputed VR software development kits (SDKs) to build core features.
- Use test automation aids along with test automation frameworks to improve the test coverage.
You can read our guide “What is the best development approach to guarantee the success of your app?” to understand the value this approach offers.
5. Estimate the project
As the next step, you need to estimate the project, and this involves estimating the following:
- Software development manpower: You need to estimate the manpower cost for the SDLC phases like requirements analysis, design, development, testing, deployment, and maintenance.
- Infrastructure and platform: This part of the estimation covers managed cloud services like AWS.
- Tools: You need to estimate the cost of SDKs, development frameworks, and test automation frameworks.
- You need to estimate the other administrative expenses like hiring and communication.
Our guide “How much does it cost to build a VR app?” can help you with this estimation.
6. Sign-up for a PaaS platform
You are developing a web app, therefore, you need the necessary IT infrastructure and platforms. I recommend that you use AWS Elastic Beanstalk, i.e., the PaaS offering from AWS. There are several advantages to using a PaaS platform, e.g.:
- PaaS providers manage cloud infrastructure, networking, middleware, operating system, and runtime environment, therefore, your team can concentrate on coding.
- You can easily integrate databases and other 3rd party APIs when you use a PaaS platform.
- Reputed PaaS platforms like AWS Elastic Beanstalk have matured DevOps tools, which makes your development, testing, and deployment easier.
- You can easily scale your app when using a PaaS platform.
I have explained these advantages in “10 top PaaS providers”.
7. Sign-up for an MBaaS platform
Now that you have an AWS account, I recommend that you use the same account to sign-up for AWS Amplify, i.e., the MBaaS platform from AWS. This expedites the development of the mobile app since you get the following advantages:
- MBaaS providers manage cloud infrastructure and persistent storage.
- You don‘t need to develop the mobile backend and manage it over the longer term.
- It‘s easier to implement user management and security features when you use an MBaaS platform, moreover, it‘s also easier to implement push notifications.
- You will find it easier to scale your mobile app when you use an MBaaS platform.
You can read more about the advantages of MBaaS in “How to choose the best Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS)?”.
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8. Get a VR solution to develop the VR simulation feature
I recommend that you use Amazon Sumerian, i.e., the VR solution from Amazon to build the core features of VR simulation. It works with all prominent VR platforms, e.g.:
- Oculus Go;
- Oculus Rift;
- HTC Vive;
- HTC Vive Pro;
- Google Daydream;
- Lenovo Mirage.
You can also use it for Android and iOS devices. With Sumerian, you can build a virtual classroom, therefore, this solution is just the right one for you.
You can use the following resources to get the required guidance:
- Amazon Sumerian documentation;
- Amazon Sumerian scripting API reference;
- User guides for Sumerian;
- Sumerian tutorials.
Amazon publishes the pricing plans for Sumerian here.
9. UI design
Trainees need a simple and user-friendly UI, therefore, your UI design team should use appropriate guidelines and best practices for this work. You need to consult the following resources:
- “7 essential best practices for designing web app UI”;
- Human Interface Guidelines for the iOS app UI design;
- Material design guidelines for the Android app UI design.
10. Get a test automation aid to improve test coverage
You need to test the web and mobile apps against different browsers and mobile devices, moreover, they with different versions. This can be hard, however, Experitest provides a solution for this with its Mobile Device & Browser Lab on the cloud. I recommend that you use it.
11. Web app development
It‘s now time to develop the web app, and I recommend that you use Node.js for this. This open-source runtime environment has several advantages, e.g.:
- It facilitates asynchronous event-driven programming, which is good for scaling a web app. A VR simulator web app should scale well.
- js is good for streaming, which is important for this project.
- A large developer community has created and shared many open-source tools and frameworks for Node.js, and this helps programmers to achieve higher productivity.
You can read “10 great tools for Node.Js software development” to learn more about the advantages of Node.js.
Developing this web app involves the following:
- Use Eclipse IDE with this Node.js plugin to code the app.
- Integrate database services on AWS Elastic Beanstalk. You can read “Adding a database to your Elastic Beanstalk environment” for guidance.
- Integrate Amazon Sumerian in your code.
- Test the web app, and deploy it. You can read “Deploying Node.js applications to AWS Elastic Beanstalk” for guidance.
12. Code, test, and publish the Android app
I recommend that you use Java to code the Android app. This involves the following steps:
- Use Android Studio for coding.
- Integrate Sumerian in the app.
- Use Espresso and Experitest mobile device lab for testing the app.
- Publish it to Google Play, by using this guide.
13. iOS app development
The next step is to code, test, and publish the iOS app, and I recommend that you code this app using Objective-C. This powerful language has many features, and most developers on Apple platforms know this.
You need to do the following:
- Code the app using Xcode, i.e., the popular IDE for developing apps on Apple‘s platforms.
- Integrate Amazon Sumerian in the code.
- Test the app using XCTest and the Experitest mobile device lab.
- Publish the app to the Apple App store, by following this guide.
You have just completed the project to build a VR simulator for healthcare.
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Planning to build a healthcare VR simulator?
A project to build a VR augmented reality simulator for healthcare can be complex, therefore, I recommend that you take help from a reputed software development company. Our guide “How to find the best software development company?” can help you with due diligence.
DevTeam.Space can also help you here via its field-expert software developers community. You can outsource these vetted developers according to your healthcare VR simulator project requirements.
Write to us your initial product specifications via this form, and one of our account managers will get back to you with further help on project planning, partnering with developers, managing them, etc.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Anyone with the skills, experience, and resources can build a VR simulator. Due to the niche skills required for virtual reality in healthcare, it is more expensive than most other kinds of VR development.
Healthcare virtual reality has enormous potential for healthcare professionals and patients. Virtual reality tools can be used to allow medical students to train for surgical procedures just like in an operating room, help train staff on emergency evacuations, impart remote medical education, provide physical therapy and mental health therapy in a virtual environment, etc.
DevTeam.Space is a community of field expert developers with years of experience in developing virtual reality solutions. Simply send your project requirements and a dedicated account manager will be in touch to answer any questions you might have.
Both gaming consoles are able to run VR games. Arguments range whether Xbox or Playstation VR is better. Both work with a range of VR headsets including the Oculus Quest VR headset and numerous other Samsung joystick and steering wheel controllers to enhance the VR gameplay experience.