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Virtual cow gives students new virtual learning tool

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Nov 10, 2009
By dvm360.com staff
London, England -- A new training device gives veterinary students invaluable practice in detecting pregnancies and infections in cows -- without the smell.

The Haptic Cow is a realistic, touch-sensitive device placed inside a fiberglass model of a cow's backside. The device was developed by Dr. Sarah Baillie, a professor at the Royal Veterinary College in London who, in addition to practicing and teaching veterinary medicine, has a PhD in computing science.

During training, students palpate models of a cow’s uterus, ovaries, pelvis, and abdominal structures. The teacher can provide feedback and guidance while following the student's hand movements on a computer monitor. The virtual cow will even let out a cautionary "moo" if the student presses too hard.

The Haptic Cow now is being used by several U.K. veterinary schools. Baillie is attempting to market the Haptic Cow in the U.S. and Canada, and also is developing a Haptic Horse and a Haptic Cat.