Christian Díaz
2016, Colombia
His collaborative platform helps doctors to hone their surgical skills remotely through virtual reality
Computer Science

While learning to perform surgeries, doctors can practice on animals, through simulators (virtual or physical) and directly on patients. In order to perfect and democratize the educational process for surgeons, Christian Díaz has developed an application which serves as a collaborative platform for developing the motor skills necessary for different procedures. This product allows two or more people to work together remotely within a virtual setting, and has earned Díaz a spot amongst the winners of MIT Technology Review, Spanish edition´s Innovators Under 35 Colombia 2016 awards.

Díaz explains that the system "targets the development of motor skills and is executed as if you were working with a patient," thanks to a series of virtual settings which recreate the conditions of the medical process, and "facilitates collaborative working, since the settings can be shared," its creator explains. This allows "a doctor in Japan to work with another in Argentina to perform a procedure for separating Siamese twins and share data throughout."

And given that not everyone connects to the internet under the same conditions, Díaz´s solution, unlike existing simulators, adapts to the quality of each user´s internet connection to allow them to manage the information and 3D content under equal conditions.

A biomedical engineer with a PhD in engineering from the EAFIT University, Díaz has already tested the system, which currently includes several settings. And although the platform does not yet have an official name, the team members generally call it SKILL. Its creator hopes to make the platform widely available during the first half of 2017. In future, the product will connect to Digital Medic, a platform developed by the Stanford University (USA) where users can freely select settings to use.

"The premise of the platform is to make medical knowledge accessible and democratize it," says the young engineer. He adds that it is not "exclusively aimed at healthcare professionals but rather will also include areas open to the general public, like cardiovascular resuscitation and other basic procedures." He does qualify however that "there will be advanced procedures available only to physicians."

Although "many other simulators are available on the market, this one involves an interesting concept," according to the founding president of the consultancy Core Model Corporation and jury member for the Innovators Under 35 Colombia 2016 awards, Ibis Sánchez. This expert also highlights "the advantage [of this project] which is already working in its home country, forging international alliances and commercializing its product."

Discover all of the winning projects from Innovators Under 35 Colombia 2016.