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08 May 2010
A successful Cardiff University spin-out company has developed and launched groundbreaking new equipment to train students in sonography.
MedaPhor Ltd was recently recognised with a special Impact Award at the annual Innovation Awards for its development of a novel ‘Virtual Patient’ Ultrasound Simulator. This was a joint project led by Mr Nazar Amso from the School of Medicine with Professor Nick Avis from the School of Computer Science and Informatics.
Training methods for sonographers have traditionally been expensive, time-consuming and dependent on the availability of patients and resources. By contrast, the training system offered by MedaPhor is fast, effective and does not need to be based within a clinical environment.
The system utilises a hand-held device, similar to a computer game controller, which is manipulated to produce ultrasound images from specific parts of the human body. The virtual environment created allows tasks to be undertaken which closely resemble those carried out during live ultrasound sessions and also provides trainees with immediate feedback on performance.
The official launch of the ScanTrainer system took place at the annual scientific meeting of the British Society for Gynaecological Imaging. This project was supported by grants from the Welsh Assembly Government at different stages of the simulator development.
Stuart Gall, MedaPhor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: "We are delighted to win this 2010 Impact Award. The collaborative work that has been done with Cardiff University, combined with the support of the Welsh Assembly Government and our major investors, Fusion IP and Finance Wales, has been vital in bringing the new ScanTrainer to market."
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