How to Develop a VR Surgeon Simulator?

vr surgeon simulator
Aran Davies
Blockchain Expert | Developer | Writer | Photographer

Do you want to tap the growing market of Surgeon Simulator VR (Virtual Reality) tools? You need to know how to develop a VR surgeon simulator.

We at DevTeam.Space can guide you since we have the required experience in complex software development projects.

Join us as we explain how to build a VR surgery simulator.

Popular surgeon simulator VR tools: A quick review

The healthcare sector sees the need to improve the training processes for trainee surgeons. Surgeon simulator experience reality or surgeon simulator VR made a mark here. The market for such simulators is growing.

Different market research reports state that. E.g.:

Review the following well-known surgeon simulator VR tools to get great design ideas:

1. Fundamental Surgery

Fundamental Surgery is a notable VR education platform from a company named FundamentalVR. It’s an independently accredited learning platform.

This platform offers the following advantages:

  • It enables practitioners to learn the use of products and procedures in an immersive VR surgical environment.
  • Its precision haptics helps senior surgeons to impart skills to trainee surgeons.
  • The multiuser VR capabilities of Fundamental Surgery help to collaborate remotely.
  • The platform allows precise measurement.
  • Fundamental Surgery offers a comprehensive dashboard to track skill development.
  • The platform allows the recording of all training modalities.
  • Users can access this platform via desktops and mobile devices.
  • The overall effectiveness of Fundamental Surgery helps to acquire skills quickly.

2. Osso VR

Osso VR is a prominent VR surgical training and assessment platform. It offers the following advantages to hospitals, surgeons, and trainees:

  • It tackles the steep learning curve to learning complex surgical procedures.
  • This platform helps trainees practice through spaced repetition.
  • Osso VR provides a comprehensive assessment analytics report. Hospitals, surgeons, and trainees can understand how the training is progressing.
  • It provides fully immersive and hands-on experiences to trainees.
  • Osso VR uses the latest in cutaneous haptics technology. This allows trainees to train on the latest instruments, capital equipment, and surgical robotics.   
  • Osso VR provides collaboration features. This helps to train more surgeons.

3. PrecisionOS

PrecisionOS is a VR-powered medical-grade learning platform for trainee surgeons. It offers the following advantages:

  • PrecisionOS offers a high-fidelity environment. Trainees have a realistic feeling. The platform offers real-life accuracy of anatomy, instruments, and the OR (operating room) environment.
  • Apart from a realistic and immersive environment, PrecisionOS provides collaboration features. More aspiring surgeons can get the training they need.
  • This dynamic learning platform offers many opportunities to practice. Trainees can get feedback.
  • PrecisionOS is scalable and cost-effective.
  • The platform reduces the steep learning curve involved in complex surgical procedures.

A quick recap of the VR ecosystem, market, and use cases

An understanding of the VR ecosystem will help you to plan your project. In addition to surgical simulators, VR business ideas are many. A few examples are as follows:

  • Training simulators for fire extinguishers and workers in hazardous occupations;
  • Engaging ads;
  • Interesting media and entertainment content including games;    
  • Prototypes of complex products;
  • Managing meetings better.

A GlobeNewsWire report projects that the VR market size will grow to $43.01 billion in 2028. The report estimates a CAGR of 27.5% during the 2022-2028 period.

There’s a vibrant market for virtual reality headsets. The following are a few key brands:

  • Oculus Quest;
  • Oculus Quest 2;
  • Oculus Rift S;
  • PlayStation VR from Sony;
  • HTC Vive Cosmos;
  • Valve Index.

Technology giants have entered the VR space, e.g.:

  • Microsoft created HoloLens. Note: Many fans of Xbox One want VR support, however, Microsoft doesn’t plan that. You can connect Oculus Rift and HTC Vive with Xbox One.
  • Intel created True VR, an end-to-end VR solution.
  • Valve offers SteamVR, which enables users to play VR games on different headsets.
  • Asus offers GTX graphics cards for VR systems.
  • GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) from NVIDIA are useful for VR.

Many companies create and publish VR games, e.g.:

  • PlayWay;
  • GameBoom VR;
  • Big Cheese Studio.

How to create a surgeon simulator VR tool?

How do you go about VR surgeon simulator development? Take the following steps:

1. Build a senior team for project definition and planning

Start with a small team led by a project manager (PM). The team should have a software architect and a few business analysts (BA). This team should focus on the following:

2. Gather, write and manage the requirements

BAs should take the lead in gathering the functional requirements. They might interview potential users, conduct user research, and use other relevant techniques for this.

Functional requirements should cover the following:

  • The content of the simulator;
  • The list of VR headsets supported;
  • Other features like DLC (downloadable content), sandbox mode, career mode, etc., if applicable.

Decide whether you will offer the VR surgical simulator on web and mobile platforms. Potential users should be able to write user reviews, checkout, etc.

The software architect needs to take a lead and define the non-functional requirements (NFRs). These should include usability, security, performance, scalability, etc.

The PM should oversee the following:

3. Decide the features to offer in the MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

You will likely enhance your proposed surgeon simulator VR tool multiple times. We recommend you use the Agile methodology since it caters to iterative development.

You should launch an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) first. An MVP is a functional product. You create an MVP to get quick feedback from the target users.

You might offer fewer features in an MVP since your objective is to validate your ideas and assumptions. You can take course correction measures based on market feedback.

Alternatively, you can enhance your product according to your original plan.

Choose the features to offer in your MVP. As we state in our MVP guide, use the following techniques for this:

  • “Pain and gain map”;
  • Prioritization matrix.

4. Review VR development tools and choose the appropriate one

You can use VR development tools to expedite your project. Check out the following popular VR development tools:

InstaVR

InstaVR is a popular VR development tool. You can use it to create VR content for several popular VR headsets like Oculus Go, Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift S, etc.

InstaVR enables you to create VR content for the web, Android, and iOS too.

It offers the following advantages:

  • Ease-of-use;
  • Support for Stereoscopic 3D;
  • Support for 4K videos;
  • Readiness for enterprise use;
  • Ease of publishing VR content across multiple platforms;
  • Support for offline standalone and online DLC (downloadable content);
  • Support for 3D models with texture images;
  • Documentation and tutorials.

OpenSource 3D Engine

OpenSource 3D Engine (O3DE) is a game engine and a successor of Amazon’s Lumberyard. You can use this free and open-source tool for developing VR simulators. It offers the following advantages:

  • Integrations with AWS;
  • Support for a wide range of VR use cases;
  • Ease of use;
  • Extensive documentation and tutorials;

Amazon Sumerian

Amazon Sumerian is a well-known tool from AWS to create VR, AR, and 3D applications. It offers the following advantages:

  • Amazon Sumerian is a managed service from AWS, therefore, you get comprehensive support.
  • You can easily create VR applications with it.
  • Amazon Sumerian is easy to use.
  • It integrates well with other AWS services.
  • Amazon Sumerian supports all popular VR headsets like Oculus Rift, Oculus Go, Oculus Quest, HTC Vive, and HTC Vive Pro.
  • It provides comprehensive tools to create VR content. You can also use prebuilt templates and assets.
  • Amazon Sumerian provides extensive documentation and tutorials.

Check out the Amazon Sumerian pricing plans.

Note: You can check out other VR development tools too, e.g.:

  • Unity;
  • Unreal Engine 4;
  • CRYENGINE;
  • Maya;
  • 3ds Max.

5. Decide on the technology stack for web and mobile development

If you plan to offer web and mobile versions of your proposed surgeon simulator VR tool, then you should choose the right technology stack. We recommend the following:

  • JavaScript or JavaScript-based frameworks: You can use JavaScript for front-end web development. Alternatively, you can use popular open-source JavaScript-based web frameworks like Angular and React.
  • Node.js: Node.js, an established open-source runtime environment for JavaScript can help with back-end development.
  • Java or Kotlin: You can use either Java or Kotlin for native Android mobile development.
  • Swift: Swift, a modern language is an excellent choice for native iOS development.
  • MySQL or PostgreSQL: These open-source SQL databases are good choices if you need an RDBMS (Relational Database Management System).
  • MongoDB or Apache Cassandra: These open-source databases are suitable if you need a NoSQL database.

Develop RESTful APIs if you need to develop APIs. If you need to use a cloud platform, then you can consider AWS, Google Cloud Platform, or Azure.

6. Complete the project planning exercise

Now that you have selected the development tools and technology stack, you need to plan the project. Consider the following aspects:

  • Whether you have planned for all software development lifecycle phases;
  • Scheduling the tasks and planning the iterations;
  • Hiring developers;
  • Project tracking and reporting;
  • Stakeholder management.

7. Hire the complete development team for the VR surgeon simulator project

You now need to hire a complete software development team. Hire the following roles:

  • VR developers;
  • UI designers;
  • Web developers;
  • Native Android developers;
  • Native iOS developers;
  • Testers;
  • DevOps engineers.

You might think of hiring freelancers. Multiple freelance platforms can help you here. You might find freelance developers at low hourly rates. However, we don’t recommend this approach.

You might find it hard to manage the project with part-time freelancers. Freelancers might leave the project mid-way, and you need to find a replacement.

We recommend you hire full-time developers from well-known software development companies. These companies offer management support. They provide replacements if developers leave in the middle of the project.

8. Execute, monitor, and control your VR surgeon simulator project

We recommend you use the Scrum framework to manage this project. This framework makes it easier to manage Agile projects. Build a Scrum team, which is a cross-functional team. A Scrum Master leads it.

Scrum teams work as follows:

  • A Product Owner provides the requirements.
  • The team plans “Sprints”, i.e., iterations in “Sprint Planning Meetings”.
  • Scrum teams conduct “Daily Stand-up Meetings” to review project status and resolve issues.
  • These teams conduct “Sprint Review Meetings” to demonstrate the product to business stakeholders. They obtain approval if the product meets the requirements.
  • Scrum teams hold “Sprint Retrospective Meetings” after Sprints to learn lessons.

Final thoughts on Developing a VR surgeon simulator

This guide to developing a surgeon simulator VR tool will help. You might need more assistance with such projects though.

Contact DevTeam.Space, and a dedicated account manager will explain how we can help via our field-expert and vetted software developers community.

FAQs on VR surgeon simulator

1. Do I need experienced VR developers to create a VR surgeon simulator?

You need VR developers with experience. A VR surgical simulator should offer an immersive experience. Trainees should get a realistic experience. Creating such a high-quality VR simulation requires a software development team with sufficient experience.

2. Can DevTeam.Space provide competent VR developers?

DevTeam.Space has considerable VR development experience. Our VR developers have the required skills and experience. We routinely encourage our developers to upgrade their skills. Therefore, you will get highly motivated developers if you work with us.

3. Does DevTeam.Space provide project management support or only developers?

DevTeam.Space has comprehensive processes for delivering software development projects. We assign a dedicated account manager to work with you. Our account managers guide our developers, and they can provide project management support.


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