UK Surgeon Experiments With Oculus Rift to Make 'Virtual Surgeon'

PHOTO: Dr. Shafi Ahmed wants to create virtual reality surgeries for med students. PlayDr. Shafi Ahmed, Medical Realities
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A British surgeon wants to make the operating room virtual with the Oculus Rift headset.

Dr. Shafi Ahmed, a laparoscopic and colorectal surgeon, has already worked to integrate Google Glass into his lessons as an associate dean at the Barthes of London Medical School.

As co-founder of the tech company Medical Realities, Ahmed now wants to use the virtual reality system Oculus Rift to create the "Virtual Surgeon," a pilot program that would allow medical students to practice surgeries inspired by actual operations before setting foot into an operating room.

Ahmed and his team presented Virtual Surgeon at the wearable technology show this week.

"It’s very easy to train people in a correct operation," Ahmed told ABC News today. "It’s not so easy when things go wrong. ... We're all put in situations where things can go wrong."

PHOTO: An undated handout image shows a 360 view of Dr. Shafi Ahmed’s operating room. Dr. Shafi Ahmed, Medical Realities
An undated handout image shows a 360 view of Dr. Shafi Ahmed’s operating room.

Last month, Ahmed took the first steps towards creating that program by making a 360-degree video of an operation.

Anyone wearing an Oculus Rift headset could then be able to get an immersive view of the laparoscopic procedure when the video is played back.

The virtual reality experience of Oculus Rift is a better simulation for students, Ahmed said, because it can more easily mimic a real operating room.

"It’s as close as you can get to replicating it," he said, noting that education should always embrace the newest technology and a virtual reality operating room could be the next major tool for students.

The Oculus Rift headset has not been made available to consumers yet, but the company was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion last year. The headsets have already been utilized by a range of people, from real estate agents to driving instructors and fitness companies.

ABC News' Alyssa Newcomb contributed to this report.