A SURGICAL product design and manufacturer has created an innovative tool to enable medical students to use virtual reality in the operating theatre.

Inovus Medical, based on Wharton Street at the Sherdley Road Industrial Estate, has produced the virtual reality tool which they say will transform medical training.

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The firm, which featured in the Star last November, when it received a funding boost to enable expansion, has won a number of awards, including the EIT Health Headstart Award and most recently the British Chamber of Commerce Regional Small Business of the Year Award.

Inovus has doubled its headcount following a year of growth, and supplies more than 60 per cent of NHS trusts and works closely with some of the worlds’ leading medical device companies to develop customised training equipment.

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The new innovative product allows students and young medical professionals to train in a VR operating theatre using a high resolution, real-time video stream and physical feedback from the Inovus laparoscopic simulator.

Inovus initially approached LCR 4.0 for support in expanding the functionality and features of its existing product line to allow for a more realistic experience, adding real-life dimensions to training methods to improve performance and outcomes.

Combining existing products and experience of developing high-quality virtual test environments with the technical expertise from LCR 4.0 delivery partner the Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC), Inovus has created a mixed reality, cyber physical surgical training tool.

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Dr Elliot Street, CEO of Inovus Medical, said: “The work we have done with the Virtual Engineering Centre through the LCR 4.0 programme has been pivotal in developing a new tool that has the potential to transform how medical professionals train and ultimately the quality of care patients receive.”

“This project has opened countless doors for us with key investors and stakeholders, leading to a £500K investment from the Northern Powerhouse fund. We will also welcome 10 new members of staff as a result.”

Dr Andy Levers, technical director at the VEC and technical lead for LCR 4.0, added: “The work that Inovus is doing is so important and is an excellent example of how advanced Industry 4.0 technologies can transform the healthcare sector.

“The company already boasts a range of exceptionally advanced products, so it was interesting for us to be able to combine that with our in-house expertise to create a multi-functional, mixed reality surgical training tool.”

To further develop the product and bring it to market, ‘Inovus is now carrying out further product development of this and a number of other technologies and hopes to launch a suite of new high fidelity laparoscopic simulators in early 2020.