Kitware has released the latest versions of two of its popular medical training and simulation toolkits –  the Interactive Medical Simulation Toolkit (iMSTK) 2.0 and the Pulse Physiology Engine (Pulse) 2.3. Updates to these toolkits include improved models and functionality based on feedback from user and developer communities. Kitware showcased these latest features and improvements at the International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH) in San Diego.

Both iMSTK and Pulse provide the technology to build virtual simulators that can help practicing surgeons, medical students, residents, and nurses to rehearse or plan medical procedures. For example, iMSTK has been used to help medical professionals prepare for biopsies, resectioning, radiosurgery, and laparoscopy without compromising patient safety in the operating room. It can also help accredit potential surgeons in basic skills for laparoscopy, endoscopy or robotic surgery. Pulse provides necessary physiologic feedback for clinicians training to provide life-saving medical treatment, such as for hemorrhage, tension pneumothorax, airway trauma, ventilator use and settings, and anaphylaxis.

iMSTK is a free, open source toolkit that offers product developers and researchers all the software components they need to build and test virtual simulators for medical training and planning. Release 2.0 offers improved functionality with many new features as well as refactored modules that address the ease-of-use, and extendability of the API. Specifically, it has greatly improved the features as well as the efficiency of the physics, collision modules, and rendering modules.

Some of the highlights for the latest release include Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) for simulating fluids with varied viscosity and surface tension and extended simulation modes that allow iMSTK to work as a physics backend allowing easier integration into external software.

Pulse is a free, open source physiology engine that is used to rapidly prototype virtual simulation applications. These applications simulate whole-body human physiology through adult computational physiology models. Release 2.3 includes updates that were the result of Kitware’s work with users to improve models and functionality of the engine.

The new release includes significant respiratory model updates, such as changing the standard respiration rate from 16 bpm to 12 bpm; use of ideal body weight for determining lung volumes; refactored respiratory muscle driver with a new waveform, and more.