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Extended Reality Simulation of Childbirth (LAPEERR_U23SF)

   School of Computing Sciences

   Sunday, April 30, 2023  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Human childbirth is a complex biomechanical process that distinctly lacks transparency. Because of this, it is still considered to be one of the riskiest events in anyone’s life due to potential complications during labour that may well result in adverse outcomes for either baby or mother. The group led by Lapeer has developed the BirthView dynamic childbirth simulator over the last decade [LAP19][LAP13]. The BirthView simulator is currently strictly software based and is capable of visualising the cardinal movements of the baby’s head that occur during a “normal” (or physiological) childbirth. To do this, it uses explicit Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and contact mechanics to calculate the deformations of the pelvic floor muscles which subsequently cause the baby’s head to exhibit the rotational cardinal movements. Calculations are performed in real-time using both the CPU and GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). The current PhD project aims to upgrade BirthView to a hands-on extended reality (XR) simulator that allows clinicians to train and practise interventions including instrumental birth using obstetric forceps [LAP14a] or vacuum extraction [LAP14b]. XR would be achieved by using haptics gloves and 3D immersion with additional tools such as a real obstetric forceps that is motion tracked [LAP04]. The simulator will use the Unity games engine to render the graphics models. Applicants should have significant experience in (graphics) programming either using an established games engine with its scripting language (e.g. Unity/C# or Unreal/C++) or have developed low level apps using for example OpenGL with C/C++. The (G)UI and XR/VR/AR elements are also key to this project and experience in these fields is desirable.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at View Website
A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. Applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.


i) [LAP19] Rudy Lapeer, Zelimkhan Gerikhanov, Said‑Magomed Sadulaev, Vilius Audinis, Roger Rowland, Kenda Crozier and Edward Morris. A computer‑based simulation of childbirth using the partial Dirichlet–Neumann contact method with total Lagrangian explicit dynamics on the GPU. Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology, pages 1-20, 2019.
ii) [LAP13] Zelimkhan Gerikhanov, Vilius Audinis and Rudy Lapeer. Towards a Forward Engineered Simulation of the Cardinal Movements of Human Childbirth. The 4th IEEE International Conference on E-health and Bioengineering, EHB 2013. pp 1-4, DOI 10.1109/EHB.2013.6707394.
iii) [LAP14a] Rudy Lapeer, Vilius Audinis , Zelimkhan Gerikhanov and Olivier Dupuis. A Computer-Based Simulation of Obstetric Forceps Placement. Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention, MICCAI 2014, Part II, LNCS 8674, pp 57-64.
iv) [LAP14b] Rudy Lapeer, Zelimkhan Gerikhanov and Vilius Audinis. A computer-based simulation of vacuum extraction during childbirth. Simulia UK Regional User Meeting, November 2014, pp 1-12.
v) [LAP04] R.J. Lapeer, M.S. Chen and J. Villagrana. An augmented reality based simulation of obstetrics forceps delivery. Proceedings of the International Symposium of Mixed and Augmented Reality - ISMAR04, 2-5 November, p274-275, 2004.

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