An Australian virtual reality startup was recently awarded a $100,000 grant (approximately AU$131,000) from Epic Games, the American video game company behind the online game Fortnite.
WHAT IT DOES
Launched in 2017, Vantari VR develops a VR training platform that uses flight-simulator-style technology to help doctors and students practice and perfect life-saving procedures. The platform integrates a virtual trainer and performance tracking mechanism to solve training issues in hospitals and universities.
WHY IT MATTERS
In a statement, the startup said the cash grant will help it expand its training platform globally, and in turn, save more lives.
"The funding from Epic MegaGrants is life-changing, not just for us, but for all of the up-and-coming doctors whose training will now be fine-tuned and fast-tracked, and for the thousands of patients whose lives will be saved by the drastic reduction in medical error," Vantari co-founder Dr. Nishanth Krishnananthan said.
The Epic MegaGrants programme, which was started in 2019, supports game developers; enterprise professionals; media and entertainment creators; students; educators; and tool developers who are doing outstanding work with Unreal Engine, the technology behind television series like Star Wars: The Mandalorian and mobile games like Infinity Blade.
Vantari was given the grant for the innovation, fidelity, and functionality of its platform.
This was not the startup's first grant. It previously got the MVP Grant in 2018 and the AC Grant in 2019. Vantari is also aiming to close a $2 million funding round in June.
THE LARGER TREND
VR technology is already being used in medical education, particularly in practising laparoscopic surgery.
Two years ago, a similar firm, UK-based FundamentalVR, raised $5.67 million in a Series A funding round, the proceeds of which were used to grow its surgical training platform that combines VR and haptic sensors.
The immersive VR technology of Osso VR has also been used to aid surgeons at Newcastle Surgical Training Centre in their preparation for complicated procedures.
ON THE RECORD
"The grant gives us confidence that we’re on the right track and that the momentum is very much there. Vantari VR is a clinician-led business (...) rather than being a tech firm trying to enter the medical space, giving Vantari a considerable advantage in getting where we need to go with the platform," Krishnananthan said.