Montgomery K, Burgess L, Dev P, Heinrichs L. Project hydra--a new paradigm of internet-based surgical simulation. Studies in Health Technology & Informatics. 2006;119:399-403

PMID: 16404086


Computer-based surgical simulation systems have produced tremendous benefits and demonstrated validity as a better method for many areas of surgical skills acquisition. However, despite these benefits, broad proliferation of these systems has continued to be elusive. While in large part this lag in adoption of this technology is due to social factors (organizational momentum, curriculum integration difficulties, etc), the cost of computer-based simulation systems has certainly remained a major deterrent toward broad deployment. Instead, what if it were possible to eliminate the cost of the large computer completely from the system, yet provide a much more extensive and detailed simulation than currently available? Finally, what if a simulation with even greater detail over a wider anatomical area were possible?This is the genesis of Project Hydra- a shared simulation supercomputer were made available for free and all that is required to access it is a low-end Internet-connected computer and, optionally, interaction/haptics devices as needed for the particular task. This would enable supercomputer-class simulation at every desktop with much greater fidelity than any user could individually afford and provide an online community for simulation research and application. Further, Internet-based simulation provides for many other benefits as well. By the user merely plugging optional, additional hardware into their existing, low-end PC and using the Internet as a means of simulation dissemination, distribution, and delivery means that the user can have immediate access to simulation updates/upgrades and download/access new content (didactic curriculum and cases). Further, this ease of access and use could lead to accelerated adoption and use of simulation within the medical curriculum and this access is provided anywhere in the world 24 x 7. In addition, once connected, a server-based simulation system would be a natural point for performing easy, automated clinical studies of surgical performance and skills.