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Virtual reality: the first “hologram patient” has just been operated on


In the UK, university doctors have for the very first time performed an operation on a hologram using a virtual reality headset. The software is quite advanced. He is indeed able to adapt the patient’s response or to add complications to the operation. For the doctors behind the project, the next step will be to expand the content of the application and extend its use to other medical schools.

A rather realistic application
In 2016, a surgical operation was broadcast live in virtual reality (VR). In 2020, surgeons carried out an operation 15 km away using 5G and virtual reality glasses. However, a press release from the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) details a completely different experience: the operation in VR of a “hologram patient”. The software is intended for apprentice doctors who must here wear a VR headset and operate on the virtual patient using tools that are also virtual. However, an experienced doctor accompanied the learners to supervise the operation and correct any errors made.

The doctors used an app called HoloScenario. The goal? Recreate a realistic medical environment in which decisions must be made in real time in order to treat the patient. However, the software in question is indeed very realistic, because it is able to adapt the patient’s response to the actions of the doctors and to add complications as may be the case during a real operation.

An application for the moment still quite limited
For the moment, the HoloScenario application is reserved only for emergency care as well as for various respiratory conditions such as asthma, pulmonary embolism and pneumonia. Nevertheless, the creators of the software are currently working on other modules concerning other medical disciplines: cardiology and neurology. The University of Cambridge, which is behind this initiative, wants to extend the use of the device to other faculties of medicine. The objective is to develop distance training and provide medical courses.

In April 2022, we mentioned another VR medical platform, this time intended for the training of veterinarians. Ultimately, the Osso VR application aims to provide veterinarians with a complete catalog of veterinary procedures. In turn, the HoloScenario application may one day also benefit from a complete catalog.

SpaceX places its 33-engine launcher on its launch pad


After a series of seven test flights of Starship prototypes from August 2020 to May 2021, SpaceX is about to tickle the skies again with its Starship spacecraft. This time he won’t be alone, but styled above his huge booster named Super Heavy. Equipped with thirty-three new generation Raptor engines, the launcher has just reached its launch pad to carry out tests.

A Busy Year in South Texas
Gradually, SpaceX pushed the limits, starting with two 150-meter jumps before moving on to flights reaching nearly 12.5 km. After a few failures, this first test program ended last year with a soft landing of the Starship SN15. By this point, SpaceX had pushed its prototype ship as far as it could go. Indeed, the vehicle did not yet have the capacity to reach orbit on its own. To do this, the company has developed a first stage called “Super Heavy”, as well as the associated ground systems.

In recent months, SpaceX has also taken care of its new baby: the Raptor 2. The original engine was indeed too heavy and lacked performance. For comparison, the former produced 185 tons of thrust, while the latter will produce at least 230. It should also cost half as much to build and be considerably stronger.

All of this work has not been easy. This huge vehicle requiring thirty-three engines, the company had to rethink its production capacities. Aerojet Rocketdyne, the former leader in propulsion in the United States, has set a goal of building four RS-25 engines for NASA’s SLS rocket per year. For its part, SpaceX currently builds at least four of its own engines per week.

A lot of effort has also gone into the development of a huge “launch and capture” tower. Standing over 150 meters tall, the structure will support the fully stacked rocket during refueling and launch operations. Then, a few minutes after launch, it will grab the first stage with huge “wands” as the rocket slows near the ground. The whole design and construction process took about thirteen months.

Finally, in recent months, the company was also dependent on the FAA and its environmental report.

Next crucial tests
For all these reasons, the launch pads of Boca Chica, Texas have been silent for over a year. Now the company can move forward. This Thursday, June 23, the Super Heavy Booster 7 prototype was even moved in order to carry out its first tests. To do this, it was lifted for the first time by the famous “sticks” of the launch tower and placed on its support.

If this booster survives pressure testing and potentially a static firing test in the days and weeks to come, it could be requisitioned to perform the Starship’s first orbital test flight. Elon Musk recently said he thinks a launch attempt could happen in July.