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Photos: Inside a virtually perfect hospital

Your Second Life in students' hands
By Nick Heath, Contributor on
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1 of 5 Nick Heath/ZDNET

Your Second Life in students' hands

The wards are spotless, there are plenty of beds and groups of doctors are on hand to treat patients.

This is not a real hospital, however, but a virtual model inside the online world of Second Life, set up by Imperial College in London as part of a pilot project to explore game-based learning.

Third-year medical students at the university are using the simulation to learn more about spotting symptoms, diagnosing illnesses and treating patients.

The hospital mimics the make-up of a real life facility, with virtual radiology and respiratory departments, as seen here.

Photo credit: Imperial College

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Students can take on assignments within the hospital. In the respiratory ward, as seen here, students can listen to audio samples of a patient with breathing difficulties by clicking on the board on the wall and pick what action to take next by clicking on a virtual blackboard.

If appropriate, the trainee doctors can then request an X-ray scan from the virtual radiology department down the corridor.

Photo credit: Imperial College

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Student's avatars must stick to the same rules they would obey in a normal hospital, checking in and getting their ID from reception and washing their hands, as seen here.

Despite this realism the Second Life virtual hospital is not included on the course curriculum but is seen as a fun way of reinforcing information for tech-savvy students.

Photo credit: Imperial College

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Here is the board where the virtual medical students can get feedback, choose their assignment and pick their patients.

Photo credit: Imperial College

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This is an outside view of the hospital, which is set within a replica of Imperial College's grounds, complete with a virtual Queen's Tower - pictured here.

The virtual hospital was created by Imperial College's Faculty of Medicine.

Photo credit: Imperial College

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