Inventors have enhanced the standard CPR training by utilizing VR to more accurately simulate an emergency response environment.


Seeking Industry Collaboration for Virtual Reality (VR) Training System for CPR

A suite of VR modules for greatly enhanced training of individuals in the areas of emergency medicine including resuscitation.


Annually in the US, over 350,000 people suffer from a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) event, with a survival rate of just 10%.  Once a victim suffers an SCA, with each passing minute, the rate of survival decreases by a startling 10%.  It is known that CPR administered by a bystander can double the chance of survival; however, only three out of ten victims will receive this life-saving intervention. Compounding this, it has been shown that bystanders do not intervene due to either lack of knowledge or lack of confidence in their ability to perform CPR when needed.   


Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) have enhanced the standard CPR training by utilizing VR to more accurately simulate an emergency response environment. The VR application creates a scenario in which a layperson views a crowded city scape and can walk around the virtual environment when they encounter a simulated victim suffer an SCA and fall to the ground.  The trainee is then able to interact with other simulated bystanders to direct them to call 911 and retrieve an AED, at which point the trainee can also perform CPR on the simulated victim.  The VR environment is supplemented with a physical resuscitation mannequin to allow for a multi-sensory experience (audio, visual, tactile).  Sensors are used to allow the trainee to walk through this VR scene as well as to determine the technical success of their resuscitations on the mannequin.

The use of VR in training is not new and the medical field has been an early adopter of the technology.  Additionally, there exist other VR CPR training initiatives in development or early market launch, however these generally use pseudo-virtual reality programs on less dynamic platforms such as computer-programmed environments. Though these platforms allow the user to interact with simulated computer-based programs, they lack key attributes such as the actual trainee response, emotional components, as well as the physical hands-on interaction. This issue persists when considering the currently available CPR courses where trainings take place in a classroom setting with a mannequin, devoid of the actual stress and emotion of a real SCA.


Realistic scenarios in a safe, controlled area
Improves retention and recall
Simplifies complex problems/situations
Suitable for different learning styles
Active rather than passive experience
Suited to all types of learning styles


Paediatric basic life support
Advanced life support
First aid
Heimlich manoeuvre
Mass casualty


The application developed at Penn leverages the expertise from the Centre for Resuscitation Science (CRS) – a leading research and training group within Department of Emergency Medicine. The CRS was established in 2006 to serve as a focal point for multidisciplinary research across the full spectrum of resuscitation science from bench to bedside. The CRS has developed a broad multidisciplinary team on resuscitation therapies, education, clinical care, and innovation, including scientists from the medical sciences and engineering, scientists, and clinicians with backgrounds in biochemistry, cellular physiology, paediatrics, emergency medicine, anaesthesia, surgery, trauma, critical care, neuroscience, mechanical engineering, bioengineering, nursing, veterinary medicine, and others. The CRS is committed to improving access to CPR training and has dedicated programs that have trained thousands of people in CPR. Additionally, faculty and staff are very involved in the international and national resuscitation guidelines and scientific committees and collectively, they have published over a hundred peer-reviewed articles in the areas of CPR and cardiac arrest.


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