Case study

Large-animal simulator enhances teaching and removes need for live animals


The Haptic Cow enhances veterinary education at the University of Wroclaw

Operating since 1702, the University of Wrocław is one of the oldest universities in Central Europe, and its Faculty of Veterinary Medicine dates to 1881. It’s also the proud owner of a Haptic Cow simulator – the only one in Poland.

By using the Haptic Cow, the University of Wroclaw can...

  • Give students early exposure to diagnosing gastrointestinal pathologies in horses and cows
  • Provide real-time guidance to students from supervising instructors since the students’ movements are easily visible
  • Quickly simulate different scenarios with the click of a button using the Haptic Vet simulation software
A hand inside a fibreglass shell of a cow's hindquarters. The hand is touching a robotic haptic arm which simulates the feeling of the cow's internal organs.
The haptic arm inside the fibreglass shell.

How the Haptic Cow provides flexible large-animal simulation

The Haptic Cow is an all-in-one solution made up of the simulation software that uses geometric shapes to replicate bovine and equine anatomy. Inside a fibreglass shell that resembles a cow, there’s a haptic robot arm. Students reach inside to touch the arm which gives physical feedback to simulate the feeling of touching the animal’s organs.  

The University uses the technology to teach veterinary students in their fourth, fifth and sixth years, alongside traditional physical simulators, with no need for students to practise on live animals. What sets the Haptic Cow apart is the fact that the simulation is software-based – so rather than having to physically swap out components to recreate diseased organs, instructors can quickly swap between scenarios with just a click.

As well as showing the geometry of the simulated organs, the software shows the position of the haptic arm itself as the student interacts with it. So, as well as seeing how the student’s hand moves inside the fibreglass shell, an instructor can check on the screen too. Instructors can give real-time guidance to correct students’ positioning, which isn’t possible with a live animal, or with other physical simulators.  

The University also creates clinical scenarios with the Haptic Cow, such as simulating a wide range of equine diseases, or the different stages of bovine pregnancy.

Images taken by Tomasz Lewandowski.

“What is important is that the supervising teacher can observe the entire examination process on a screen, and therefore have the opportunity to provide real-time guidance, correct the positioning of hands, which is not possible when examining a living animal.”  
Prof. Artur Niedźwiedź | Vice-Dean for Clinical Affairs of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

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