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UCF health students experience 'BLISS' a virtual simulation for medical training

UCF's BLISS, virtual reality interactive simulation.
Joe Mario Pedersen
Jennifer Tucker, a UCF professor of physical therapy, instructs PT students on the anatomy of the human brain using BLISS, Blended Learning Interactive Simulation Suite.

The University of Central Florida is launching a mixed-reality room to enhance student learning and patient care with immersive environments.

In one moment, a small room on UCF’s Rehabilitation Innovation Center can transform into an entire hospital floor, and in the next moment, it'll render a 3-D model of the human body with graduate students zooming in on different parts of the brain, all thanks to UCF’s new Blended Learning Interactive Simulation Suite, or BLISS.

The virtual room uses 270-degree, floor-to-ceiling touchscreen walls that display curated audio and video that create an immersive experience.

@iamjoemario I got to play in #UCF's BLISS, its new virtual reality and interactive room for health students 😁 #foryoupage #centralflorida #journalism #news #partylikeajournalist ♬ Chillest in the Room - L.Dre

Jennifer Tucker, a UCF associate professor of physical therapy, says her students can practice treating patients with obstacles in the way, like those they may encounter working in a patient's home.

"I can take students into an interactive patient apartment, and they can touch the wall on the refrigerator open, and they can observe what foods or what sort of diet that patient would have," Tucker said.

Or they can practice working with the surroundings of a real hospital, Tucker said.

UCF's BLISS, virtual reality interactive simulation
Joe Mario Pedersen
Jennifer Tucker, right) a UCF professor of physical therapy, instructs PT students on the anatomy of the human brain using BLISS, Blended Learning Interactive Simulation Suite.

“So very realistic environment, hospitals are not quiet places, there are alarms going off, there are announcements going on. So for them to be able to perform those skills, not only demonstrates competence but also demonstrates confidence,” she said.

BLISS can also be used to help young patients who have problems with speech or reading stay engaged within a simulated storybook, said Katie Markley, a UCF speech-language pathologist student.

“It's fantastic. Being able to have them inside the book, they're so engaged in everything that's happening. And so you don't really have to think about how do I keep this kid engaged because they're already so engaged in what you're doing,” Markley said. "That whole engagement aspect of it, that's a huge difference. And they also feel like they are getting to participate in something instead of just me reading off a book and asking questions. They themselves get to be a part of the activity."

BLISS is currently ready for student use at the Rehabilitation Innovation Center
but does require a reservation.

Originally from South Florida, Joe Mario came to Orlando to attend the University of Central Florida where he graduated with degrees in Radio & Television Production, Film, and Psychology. He worked several beats and covered multimedia at The Villages Daily Sun but returned to the City Beautiful as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel where he covered crime, hurricanes, and viral news. Joe Mario has too many interests and not enough time but tries to focus on his love for strange stories in comic books and horror movies. When he's not writing he loves to run in his spare time.
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