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"But with this type of technology, you can immerse 15 to 20 people in one of these environments and really scale how people learn and train," he said.

The VR experience gets a seal of approval from both trainees and more experienced medics.

Richard Bamford, surgeon and lead for skills and courses at the hospital, said: "It's reproducible, it's reliable, and it's based on a real-world setting. It's as realistic as it can be.

"It gives them (the students) a good opportunity to train, particularly in times when training has been affected by different reasons, covid being one of them."

Medical student Chiranth Badrinath explained that Virti's technology gave him an insight into an operating theatre environment that would have otherwise been impossible.

"If we had this last year it would be so good for our learning," he said.

"I've been in theatre and felt like I couldn't really ask questions, but having everything explained to you, there's a running commentary -- it's really helpful."

Physician Usama Khan appreciated the close-up virtual views. "It's kind of freaky but it's good," he said.

Virti aims to introduce affordable "experiential education" across the world, and is already working with hospitals in Africa.

It has launched computer-generated avatars that respond to humans like Amazon's Alexa technology, allowing trainee medics to practise "soft" interpersonal skills.

"In healthcare, that's really interesting, looking at how people can practise in a safe environment, and their communication skills with patients, either breaking bad news, explaining diagnoses," said Young.

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