A Scottish consortium is set to use augmented reality (AR) software to help train surgeons on hyper-real 3D-printed models of human organs.
The software will guide trainee surgeons as they perform “surgery” on the lifelike models and will be used in the UK and less developed areas of the world.
The consortium includes industry-lead Organlike, which has produced the models of organs, along with NHS Highland, The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Vivolution, KWWK Ltd, 4c Engineering and Aseptium.
Project partners are working with the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) to deliver the immersive technology, which will remove barriers to training by allowing surgeons to practice vital lifesaving skills at home.
Backed by funding from the Innovate UK Sustainable Innovation Fund, they have already distributed 160 kits to the UK and Africa, consisting of 3D-printed bio-synthetic organs, real surgical instruments, and a mobile phone holder.
Danny McMahon, Digital and Metrology Lead at the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, said: “Our software works along with Organlike’s hyper-real models to provide guidance and training, as well as feedback on performance. While there is no replacement for the real thing, we can help prepare trainees for taking the next step in their training.
“Although coronavirus restrictions are lifting, we expect there to be an increasing demand for a more flexible approach to surgical training going forward. The application for this technology extends far beyond Scotland and although it’s still relatively early days for the project we are already excited about its potential.”
Accessible via a smartphone app, augmented reality technology is used to scan physical models of organs made from hyper-realistic aqua gel, designed to mimic the texture of human tissue.
The scan generates a digital representation of the organ, which is displayed on the trainee’s phone and provides instructions that feedback when a procedure is successfully completed. Trainees can also film their work for review from experienced surgical trainers.
As well as helping train surgeons in the UK, the technology can help medical professionals in less developed areas of the world where training facilities are scarce or non-existent.
Kits have already been delivered to three countries in Africa, with discussions ongoing for other territories around the globe.
Professor Angus Watson, Member of the Council of The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, said: “Surgical simulation represents the future for our profession. The public expect us to uphold the highest standards of surgical skill and care and the College has been at the forefront of this for over 500 years.
“I am particularly proud that we can make training opportunities equitable across the globe and I am delighted that this kit will be available both in Scotland and in Africa.”
The Scottish Government’s emergency committee has been convened after an amber weather warning was issued for thunderstorms.
The Met Office forecasts heavy rain and storms through the centre of mainland Scotland, with an amber warning, the second most serious alert, in place for thunder until 10pm on Tuesday.
A yellow warning is also in place for a wider swathe of the country, but most coastal areas in the east and west are again expected to miss the worst of the weather.
An amber warning for rain will also be in effect until 6am tomorrow in the north, while a yellow warning for downpours will also last until the same time, taking all but the far north east, far north and far west of the country.
The Scottish Government Resilience Room (Sgorr) has been convened to respond to the alert and ensure preparations are in place.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney warned Scots against flooding, saying: “The decision by the Met Office to issue the amber warning for thunderstorms signals a potentially damaging and dangerous risk of flooding in some areas.
“Flooding could happen quickly, even in areas not usually prone to flooding.
“Some communities might become cut off if roads flood, and power cuts might occur.
“Please take extra care if you are out and about, do not attempt to walk or drive through flood water, avoid camping near watercourses and ensure water conditions are safe if spending time in the water.
“The Scottish Government is in close contact with local authorities and the emergency services to ensure people in the affected areas receive the latest information, advice and support where needed.”
STV meteorologist Sean Batty said: “For weeks most of the country has basked in hot sunshine, but as is usually the case this will go out with a bang.
“This happens because the heat builds under high pressure, which acts like a big lid over the country limiting vertical convection – which basically means only small clouds can form.
“Once this weather starts to shift, the lid comes off and allows all the heat that’s built up bubble up into huge clouds which bring thunderstorms, and that’s exactly what’s happening now.”
Throughout Tuesday afternoon and evening, thunderstorms will develop with the main focus down the middle of the Highlands, Perthshire, western Fife, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire, Edinburgh, West Lothian and the Borders.
Sean said: “This is where we have an amber weather warning in force.
“One of the reasons intense showers after dry conditions can be a problem is because the sun has spent weeks baking the ground solid.
“This means that it’ll take longer for rain to soak into the ground, so as you can imagine, a huge amount of rain in a short period means the rain has nowhere to go and runs towards low areas.
“This is the sort of situation that brings those images of underpasses flooded and the usual roads blocked by floods.”
Sean added: “On Wednesday it’s not so much thunderstorms, but persistent rain that’ll bring flood issues.
“This is most likely in the amber warning area stretching across Wester and Eastern Ross, Inverness, Nairn and Elgin.
“As much as 50-60mm may fall in some areas of Moray and the Highlands tomorrow and perhaps in excess of this in the hills.
“That means that there is a possibility of some locations getting near a month’s worth of rain on Wednesday alone.
“For those worried that summer is over, well don’t be, because our seasons don’t go through clean transitions, and there’s still several weeks left where hot and sunny conditions can redevelop.
“For now though it is looking changeable, although quieter weather returns for the weekend.”
Tuesday weather alerts
Amber warning: From 12pm until 10pm on Tuesday.
Yellow warning: From 12pm until 11.59pm on Tuesday.
Wednesday and Thursday weather alerts
Amber warning: From 6am on Wednesday until 6am on Thursday.
Yellow warning: From 12am on Wednesday until 6am on Thursday.
Stay safe in thunder and lightning
Before the thunderstorm
Lightning can cause power surges, so unplug any non-essential appliances if not already using a surge protector.
Seek shelter if possible. When you hear thunder, you are already within range of where the next ground flash may occur. Lightning can strike as far as ten miles away from the centre of a storm.
During the thunderstorm
Telephone lines can conduct electricity so try to avoid using the landline, unless in an emergency.
If outside, avoid water and find a low-lying open place that is a safe distance from trees, poles or metal objects.
Avoid activities such as golf, rod fishing or boating on a lake.
Be aware of metal objects that can conduct or attract lightning, including golf clubs, golf buggies, fishing rods, umbrellas, motorbikes, bicycles, wheelchairs, mobility scooters, pushchairs, wire fencing and rails. If you are in a tent, try to stay away from the metal poles
If you find yourself in an exposed location it may be advisable to squat close to the ground, with your hands on your knees and with your head tucked between them. Try to touch as little of the ground with your body as possible, and do not lie down on the ground.
If you feel your hair stand on end, drop to the above position immediately.
After the thunderstorm
Avoid downed power lines or broken cables.
If someone is struck by lightning, they often suffer severe burns. The strike also affects the heart, so check if they have a pulse.
Driving in a thunderstorm
If you are caught out in thunder and lightning it is advised that you wind up the windows and stay inside your car. This is because in the vast majority of cars with a metal roof and frame, the frame will act as a conductive Faraday cage, passing the current around the passengers inside and onto the ground.
Soft-top convertibles, with their fabric roofs, are the most at risk and could catch fire if struck by lightning
Be aware that current can travel through other parts of many modern cars, including GPS and radio systems. Cars with metal interior handles, foot pedals and steering wheels can also carry current
Cars can be damaged both internally and externally by lightning strikes
Thunderstorms can also bring a risk of sudden gusty winds. Those most at risk would include cyclists, motorcyclists and high-sided vehicles.
Remember to give vulnerable road users including cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians more room than usual. They are more likely to be blown around by side winds – always keep a safe distance.
Keep your speed down. Lowering your speed will lower the distance you travel when buffeted around by the wind.
Hailstorms can be extremely dangerous to drive in – reducing your ability to see and be seen, as well as causing damage to your vehicle. If hail is severe, stop and pull over to a safe place and remain inside the vehicle.
Free bus travel for under-22s to begin at end of January
The scheme to allow free travel for everyone aged 21 and under will begin on January 31.
Free bus travel for everyone in Scotland aged under 22 will begin on January 31 2022, the government has announced.
Transport Scotland has set out the timetable for the introduction of free fares, which will cover around 930,000 people.
Around a third of the population are already entitled to free bus travel through schemes for older and disabled people.
Legislation to bring in the changes will be debated at the Scottish Parliament later this summer.
A proposal for free travel for under-19s was lodged at Holyrood in January this year.
Extending this to under-22s was part of the budget deal agreed in March.
Transport Minister Graeme Dey said: “It’s crucial to embed more sustainable travel behaviour from a young age if we are to achieve our world-leading goal of reducing the number of kilometres travelled by car by 20% by 2030 and reaching net zero emissions by 2045.
“We also know that young people have been disproportionately impacted as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, so it’s never been more important that we support them to achieve their fullest potential.
“Reducing barriers created by transport costs is one really positive action we can take.
“Our National Transport Strategy commits to a fairer, greener transport system which will reduce inequalities and take action to protect our climate.
“I’m really pleased to be taking decisive action on both of those points by setting out this timetable to provide free bus travel for all under-22s living in Scotland.”
Seven more coronavirus deaths have been recorded in Scotland as the First Minister confirmed she will announce next week whether the country is in a position to further ease restrictions.
The whole of Scotland is currently under level zero restrictions and Nicola Sturgeon said the Government hopes to lift remaining Covid measures from August 9.
Cases have more than halved in the past two weeks while the weekly figure of patients in hospital with the virus has fallen to 421 from 577 the previous week.
Speaking at Tuesday’s coronavirus briefing, the First Minister said: “What we’ll be doing between now and then is weighing up the different factors that will inform that decision.
“Several of these factors give us really strong grounds for hope and that is positive, although others remind us for the need of continued caution.
“There is no doubt we are in a much better place than we were last March, at the start of the pandemic, or at the beginning of this year, or even at the start of this month.
“In short, we have seen some very positive developments recently, and that does give us grounds for optimism that we will be able to continue progress, out of restrictions.
“That said, we do still need to be cautious.”
As well as a further seven deaths, the First Minister also announced 1044 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours.
It means the death toll under the daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is now 7866.
The daily test positivity rate was 5.6%, down from 8% on Monday.
Meanwhile, there here were 472 people in hospital on Sunday with recently confirmed Covid-19, down three on the previous day, with 63 patients in intensive care, down two.
Sturgeon said vaccination was the key reason that high case numbers in recent months had not resulted in the same number of deaths or hospitalisations as in previous waves.
So far, 4,000,658 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination and 3,108,928 have received their second dose.
“I’m pleased to say that firstly, as of this morning, a new milestone has passed,” said Sturgeon.
“More than four million people – 4,000,653 to be precise – have now received a first dose of vaccine. All adults have now been offered a first dose of the vaccine and 90% have taken up that offer and had the first dose.
“In addition, approximately 70% of adults have now had both doses of the vaccine – that includes 92% of those who are aged 40 or older.”
The First Minister also criticised people who were “deliberately spreading misinformation” about the vaccine.
She said: “If you’re an anti-vaxxer who is going around deliberately spreading misinformation about this vaccine then yes I would accuse you of anti-social behaviour because you are putting people at risk by doing that and I would ask you to think very carefully about that.
“If you are doing it deliberately, definitely, or if you are just blithely retweeting or sharing on social media information about the vaccine that has not got any basis in evidence or fact then you are not helping at all; in fact you are doing the opposite of helping.
“But if you are someone who is genuinely worried about vaccination because you might be reading about some of this stuff then I would say to you ‘pleas just take a bit of time to find out the facts about the vaccine’.”
There has been a Covid-19 outbreak at a care home in the Western Isles.
The NHS and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar confirmed that a number of positive cases have been identified at the Dun Berisay Care Home in Stornoway.
Eighteen residents and staff from the home have tested positive as of Tuesday morning.
Non-essential visiting to the site has been suspended and Test and Protect is under way to identify their close contacts.
Residents’ families have been informed of the current situation and will be kept up-to-date on an ongoing basis.
Teams from NHS Western Isles, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Public Health Scotland are supporting the care home with their arrangements for infection prevention and control to help prevent spread of the infection.
An Incident Management Team has also been formed to help support Dun Berisay staff, residents and residents’ families at this challenging time.
A number of individuals have been identified as close contacts of positive cases and have been required to self-isolate to help prevent further spread of the virus.
An NHS Western Isles spokeswoman said: “Following nine positive tests on Monday, there has now been a total of 18 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among staff and residents at the Dun Berisay Care Home.”
Mike Cowsill’s 90-year-old mother Mariegold is one of the residents at the Dun Berisay care home.
“The home phoned me at the weekend to let me know there was an issue with a couple of residents and a couple of members of staff, and that’s obviously escalated to 18 people,” he said.
“My mum isn’t positive, she had a negative PCR test come through this morning.”
He added that it was a worrying time for his mum as well as residents and staff at the home.
“I believe all the residents would have been vaccinated some time ago and the staff as well, but obviously with the new variants, not everyone who has even been double jagged will be protected,” he continued.
“It’s unfortunate and worrying that 18 cases in one cluster have occurred. But our important job as a community at the moment is to support those who are involved in the best way that we can.
“I feel very fortunate that not only has my mum has excellent care there and is continuing to get that.
“The hardest part is when you bring in isolation because you have to keep the residents apart. That side of it can be quite difficult and I think that side of it is what’s going to be the most difficult thing for her.”