…Using robots! A recent study by the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) – a world leader in minimally invasive and robotic surgery – theorised that due to our naturally more impressive hand-eye coordination that gamers may be better suited to controlling robots used for precision invasive surgery.
Guess what? Turns out they were right from the start.
“To offer insight on how best to train future surgeons, the study placed high school and college students head to head with resident physicians in robotic surgery simulations. The results, presented at the American Gynecologic Laparoscopists’ 41st Annual Global Congress on Minimally Invasive Gynecology in Las Vegas, were surprising.
Both high school sophomores who played video games on average two hours per day and college students who played four hours of video games daily matched, and in some cases exceeded, the skills of the residents on parameters that included how much tension the subjects put on their instruments, how precise their hand-eye coordination was and how steady their grasping skills were when performing surgical tasks suck as suturing, passing a needle or lifting surgical instruments with the robotic arms.
‘The inspiration for this study first developed when I saw my son, an avid video game player, take the reins of a robotic surgery simulator at a medical convention,” said Dr. Sami Kilic, lead author of the study and associate professor and director of minimally invasive gynaecology in the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at UTMB. “With no formal training, he was immediately at ease with the technology and the type of movements required to operate the robot.” – Health24.com
Its an interesting tactic and one that I’ve been thinking about for a while. In the states there’s a wing of the army that trains soldiers with video games to desensitise them to shooting someone – the idea is that the more realistic portrayal of what a battlefield may look and feel like is close enough to the real thing to make soldiers less hesitant to pull the trigger on another live human. I’m not saying now that GTA may make more gangstas bust a cap in yo’ ‘ead, but the desensitisation certainly helps a little bit. Its a good thing this doesn’t extend too far, otherwise we’d see girls wearing next to nothing that’s useful in combat to match their Final Fantasy heroines.
Gamers have long known that we possess skills ordinary people wish they had – lateral thinking during a zombie attack, the ability to overcome survival instincts to be able to kick ass and look awesome in a Cryo-suit along with super-quick and precise reflexes to be able to fend off opponents in a chainsaw duel on a flying ship in the middle of a warzone. We can pilot helicopters with rocket launchers attached, race a Nissan GTR around the Nürburgring and stave off an alien invasion all in one weekend before tucking into the Sunday braai.
Yeah, we rock. And now we can become doctors too! Thanks to Nintendo for those surgery games on the DS that we spent hours on. Whoever said gaming didn’t equip people for real life?