The Mayo Clinic and London-based virtual reality developer FundamentalVR have announced a three-year strategic alliance and joint development agreement, making the Mayo Clinic the first American medical center to institute the company’s technology.
The idea behind the partnership involves both companies working to develop joint surgical VR simulations and educational products, officials said in a release. FundamentalVR’s Fundamental Surgery platform—an interface that combines virtual reality with haptics to create a lower-cost surgical simulator—has already been instituted at the Mayo Clinic’s main campuses in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota.
According to FundamentalVR, their technology cuts hospital costs in a big way. While VR haptic solutions exist today, they exceed $125,000 in initial and maintenance costs. Typical medical training, while cheaper, employs cadavers, which range from $13,000 for a singular body to $40,000 for a synthetic, reusable one. FundamentalVR’s price tag comes in around $7,500, with monthly subscription fees starting at $350.
Richard Vincent, CEO of FundamentalVR, said in the release the team will focus on a range of simulation experiences, but they’ll start with general surgery, robotics and patient-specific simulation.
“This collaboration with the Mayo Clinic will dramatically accelerate our progress and ensures that the FundamentalVR team has access to the very best surgical knowledge,” Vincent said. “Mayo Clinic and FundamentalVR are both ultimately focused on improving patient outcomes, and with this in mind we share the belief that the comparative data insight and measurement available through our platform will have a profoundly positive impact on the wellbeing of people around the world.”
To date, FundamentalVR says it’s raised $2.6 million from investors. It counts Boston Scientific and Pacira Pharmaceuticals amongst its customers.