PURPOSE: Traditional undergraduate radiographer training mixes academic lectures and clinical practice. Our goal is to bridge the current disconnection between theory and practice in a safe environment, avoiding the risk of radiation for both practitioners and patients. To this end, this research proposes a new software to teach diagnostic radiography using real-time interactive X-ray simulation and patient positioning.
METHODS: The proposed medical simulator is composed of three main modules. A fast and accurate character animation technique is in charge of simulating the patient positioning phase and adapts their internal anatomy accordingly. gVirtualXRay is an open-source X-ray simulation library and generates the corresponding radiographs in real time. Finally, the courseware allows going through all the diagnostic radiology steps from the patient positioning and the machine configuration to the final image enhancing.
RESULTS: A face and content validation study has been conducted; 18 radiology professionals were recruited to evaluate our software using a questionnaire. The results show that our tool is realistic in many ways (72% of the participants agreed that the simulations are visually realistic), useful (67%) and suitable (78%) for teaching X-ray radiography.
CONCLUSIONS: The proposed tool allows simulating the most relevant steps of the projectional radiography procedure. The virtual patient posing system and X-ray simulation module execute at interactive rates. These features enable the lectures to show their students the results of good and bad practices in a classroom environment, avoiding radiation risk.