[Ip-health] US Army funding development of open-source physiology medical simulations engine

Jamie Love james.love at keionline.org
Mon Jan 27 03:54:23 PST 2014


*  An open-source physiology engine that anyone can use to develop medical
simulations is being developed by the U.S. Army’s Telemedicine & Advanced
Technology Research Center.

*  TATRC is paying contractor Applied Research Associates, which won the
project in February, for open-source licensing of a product that ARA will
own, but that the public can download from a Web site. “People could use
this for their own for-profit products,” said Talbot, a former Army
pediatrician turned medical simulations researcher.


http://www.armytimes.com/article/20130312/NEWS04/303120012/Army-making-open-source-physiology-engine

Army making open-source physiology engine
Mar. 12, 2013 - 12:05PM   |
By Michael Peck, Staff writer

An open-source physiology engine that anyone can use to develop medical
simulations is being developed by the U.S. Army’s Telemedicine & Advanced
Technology Research Center.

It’s not altruism that’s spurring the $7 million PhACTS (Physiologically
Accurate Community-based platform for Training Systems) project. Rather,
TATRC hopes that the new engine will enable the public to develop medical
simulations that will benefit military as well as civilian medicine.

“We thought if we had an engine that we could give away freely to
everybody, it would make it a lot easier for everyone to experiment with
the simulations that use them, and make it less expensive for people to
develop their own novel things,” said Thomas Talbot, chief scientist at
TATRC’s Armed Forces Simulation Institute for Medicine. Current physiology
simulations are either oriented toward university research, or are only
available as expensive commercial products.

But TATRC is paying contractor Applied Research Associates, which won the
project in February, for open-source licensing of a product that ARA will
own, but that the public can download from a Web site.

“People could use this for their own for-profit products,” said Talbot, a
former Army pediatrician turned medical simulations researcher.

PhACTS will be based on an existing ARA physiology engine called HumanSim.

“It will be based on a common data model that will create standard inputs
and outputs, making it easy to extend this format to additional models. The
platform will be modular and extensible,” said ARA researcher Rachel Clipp.
PhACTS will not generate fancy visuals of the human body, other than simple
graphics like an electrocardiogram. What it will do is provide the
underlying models so a medical simulation can realistically depict how the
body responds to various stimuli such as drugs.

Though PhACTS will be dual-use, it will also contain specific military
features, such as modeling blast injuries. Perhaps just as important, the
physiology engine will include plug-ins for various game engines, including
Unreal and Unity.

Talbot estimates that the physiology engine will be partly available within
a year or so, with full development requiring about four years. But the Web
site should be up within six months, and will include a forum where users
can make suggestions.

By going the open-source route, TATRC hopes to expand the breadth of
simulations. For now, physiology engines tend to be used in specialized
simulations such as for anesthesia training. But Talbot sees a physiology
engine powering a variety of simulations.

“We can have everything in there from high-altitude medicine to trauma.”

This won’t be an official simulation in the same way that Virtual
Battlespace 2 is the Army’s official tactical training game. But Talbot
believes the physiology engine will be recommended as a cost-saver.

“If someone is going to spend a lot of money to make a capability for us,
we might say, ‘Hey, do you think you can use this engine as a tool instead
of building an engine? And then maybe redirect the money toward more
content?’”

The physiology engine is part of the Developer Tools for Medical Education
(DTME), an initiative by TATRC and the Joint Program Committee-1 (JPC-1), a
tri-service research directorate of the U.S. Army Medical Research and
Materiel Command.

Other projects include a common medical simulation platform, an open-source
surgical simulation, simulated patients, and a modular mannequin.


-- 
James Love.  Knowledge Ecology International
http://www.keionline.org, KEI DC tel: +1.202.332.2670, US Mobile:
+1.202.361.3040, Geneva Mobile: +41.76.413.6584,   twitter.com/jamie_love



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