For generations, the humble orange has been a stand-in for the human arm as nurses learned how to give injections. But an emerging branch of computer technology now offers a more realistic and useful learning experience.
The orange is being replaced by a system that combines a computer, a special monitor-and-mirror combination, and something that looks and feels like the handle of a syringe. As students look into the monitor and operate the syringe, they see the needle enter a human arm and “feel” the resistance of skin and underlying tissue. The key to the experience is the “haptic” device—from the Greek word for “touch”—connected to the syringe handle. The device, driven by tiny motors and controlled by sophisticated software, provides the tactile feedback.
When the students have completed the “injection,” the system analyzes their performance in terms of angle and pressure, and provides suggestions for improvement.