The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has begun training its aeromedical evacuation crew members using a mixed-reality simulator in a world first. 

The new mixed-reality technology allows RAAF medical professionals to be able to immerse themselves into training scenarios to prepare themselves for aeromedical evacuation missions. Aeromedical evacuation crew members training within the  virtual environment use real medical equipment while navigating emergency medical response protocols 

The mixed-reality simulator located at RAAF Base Amberley, at the Health Operational Conversion Unit BlueRoom, was officially opened in October. 

BlueRoom is a collaborative effort to deliver training to aeromedical crew members, including medical officers, nursing officers and medical technicians. It will be able to run any number of training scenarios from routine in-flight patient care through to full resuscitation scenarios. 

Australian firm Real Response has made use of ground-breaking technology, using mixed-reality goggles and chroma-key blue-screen technology, to provide high-fidelity and real-time training on a ‘real flight in a RAAF C-130J Hercules. The combination of the actual physical components of the cargo area of a C-130J and a virtual picture, result in a highly realistic simulation set-up, which includes the noise one might hear while working on-board an aircraft and even the vibrations felt through the floor.

RAAF Flight Lieutenant Ben James who was part of the team that oversaw the installation of the project at the RAAF’s Health Operational Conversion Unit, said the technology reduced the need to train on an actual aircraft and minimised the time that specialist reservists had to be away from their civilian career, yet providing them with the best training possible. 

Initial and continuation training for aeromedical evacuation teams, which comprise of specialist retrieval nurses and medical officers for critically ill patients, will be undertaken in the new MR simulator. 

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