GigXR Signs Air Force Contract

GigXR Signs Air Force Contract
A GigXR training session.

Santa Monica-based GigXR Inc. is signing a contract to develop a holographic simulation training module for the U.S. Air Force.

GigXR, which was founded in 2019, develops mixed reality-training programs used by hospitals, medical schools and universities. The new contract is based on a phase two Small Business Innovation Research program and is GigXR’s second such contract. It will be working with the U.S. Air Force and Defense Health Agency to develop combat-care training for the 354th Medical Group of the U.S. Air Force Base in Eielsen, Alaska. The contract is worth $750,000.

The new program will be created for the Air Force’s Tactical Combat Casualty Care training, and this particular module will be based on actual medical cases seen by the 354th Medical Group. The module will be built into GigXR’s existing HoloScenarios, a mixed-reality application that allows users to practice skills using holographic equipment on hyper-realistic, responsive patients. Time named the application as one of the best innovations of 2022. Because of the phase two SBIR contract, other federal government entities will later be able to purchase the training solution at scale from GigXR under a non-competitive phase three contract. GigXR said it can then adapt the training module to fit the needs and use cases of different customers.

GigXR Chief Executive Jared Mermey said that immersive holographic technology allows students to experience realistic depictions of the medical progression, complications and recovery that their actual patients would show. He said that, while helpful, real-time training can be impossible to accomplish with mannequins or cadavers.

“We believe that the more realistic the simulation, the less likely someone is to be surprised or overwhelmed in the real life-or-death situation,” Mermey said. 

The simulations used in the training will present high-stress situations to mimic real-life combat care. There will be audio effects and simulations of injuries including blast wounds, broken limbs and shrapnel injuries. Patients’ reactions to treatment and potential complications can be customized by instructors. Students can utilize the immersive training experiences either remotely from home, in a class setting or outdoors, and modules can be repeated as often as needed.

“Combat care takes place in difficult, high-stress and time-dependent situations,” Mermey said. “They’re treating severe, gruesome and potentially life-threatening injuries on the battlefield … guided by subject matter experts, we are able to simulate wounds in high fidelity, as well as the sounds of gunfire, explosions, helicopters and other battlefield noises.”

Mixed reality and holographics have an advantage over virtual reality, Mermey said, because students can see the real world around them. This means they can focus on learning and communicating with fellow medics, rather than being worried about walking into a wall or a colleague. He said that mixed-reality education can also help address the issue of gender-based combat-care disparities.

“Women have higher morbidity rates than man,” Mermey said. “It’s hard to practice providing care to wounds in sensitive areas … we solve this by providing hyper-realistic hologram patients so that needed skills can be practiced.” 

Outside of this contract to develop a training module for the U.S. Air Force, GigXR’s platform is used on a subscription basis by many nursing and medical schools. It said it has clients across five continents and is trusted by major institutions including the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine, University of Leeds, Miami Dade College and the University of Queensland. Other trainings created for HoloScenarios include a basic life support module and a respiratory condition module.

“There are many stimuli that create a real-world moment,” Mermey said. “The more we can replicate in simulation, then the better prepared the learner will be when the moment comes to use their skills.”

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