Saving lives with virtual training

The Magdeburg company “2tainment” is conquering the medical sector with digital simulations

Virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) are opening doors to new worlds in all sectors. Computer games, in particular, are paving the way for innovative technologies: nowadays, modern gaming technology isn’t just being used in entertainment, it can be found in every industry. The Magdeburg-based company "2tainment GmbH" is demonstrating the strength of companies from Saxony-Anhalt in the market.

They had the right "nose" from the start. In 2016, a trio of entrepreneurs launches the company “2tainment” in Saxony-Anhalt. They focus on the federal state for a variety of reasons. The IBG funds managed by bmp Beteiligungsmanagement AG – venture capital funds financed with state and EU resources – make a financial contribution. And the partners are well aware of the courses at the local universities, in which budding young professionals learn all about the computer games sector. "Our decision to set up in Magdeburg was exactly right," says Development Director Bartol Ruzic, who now runs the business in partnership with Stefan Weyl.

On arriving in Magdeburg, the entrepreneurs initially occupy an office at the Science Port, placing them close to the university with its well-educated students and graduates, and giving them immediate opportunities for cooperation - especially when it comes to virtual reality. The company starts by developing its basic fields of business – developing and marketing hardware and software entertainment products, and optimising hardware for gamers. As a “publisher”, the company travels all over the world and serves all the leading game consoles. Two years ago, it was the first company in Saxony-Anhalt to release a computer game to be used on consoles such as the "Playstation" etc.: the action game "Air Conflicts Secret Wars".

"The current developments in medical technology are exciting..."

Since then, the software and hardware offerings in the Magdeburg firm have found themselves in good company. AR and VR are opening up new areas of business. "We want to focus more strongly on software development in the future," explains the Development Director. The team is fascinated by the ways in which XR – the combination of virtual and augmented reality - can be used, and the new worlds which it is able to open. "We’re very excited about what’s happening in the world of medical technology," says Ruzic. In this respect, those looking for "2tainment” are increasingly likely to come across the name "2simulate", with which the Magdeburg entrepreneurs intend to develop their own brand in the medical sector. "Sooner or later, this could develop into a new company in Saxony-Anhalt," opines Bartol Ruzic.

OP training: cooperation on the research campus at Magdeburg University

The first steps in this direction have now been taken: on the "STIMULATE” research campus at Otto-von-Guericke-University, the company is supporting scientists with "AVATAR": in this joint project, which is being funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, VR and visualisation techniques are being developed for the purpose of innovative surgical training. The goal is to enable doctors to simulate surgical situations at different locations simultaneously in the future. In this respect, the surgeons work on the basis of virtual reality, are able to train for emergencies and complications, and can exchange specialist knowledge. Mainz University Medical School, the Harvard Medical School in the USA as well as the regional businesses “metraTec" and "2tainment" are also participating in the project. Bartol Ruzic believes that this research, in the scope of which his company is developing the "multi-user communication network", is "very exciting". It also constitutes a convincing tool for “additional simulation projects in the medical sector”. In this context, “2tainment” is currently focusing on the topic of emergency simulators. "We recently visited around 30 medical centres to gain an overview of the things that can be improved," explains Bartol Ruzic. The bottom line: a whole lot. "There is considerable demand for digital optimisations in casualty departments. Nearly all the clinics that we contacted were very interested,” explains the Development Director. The company is responding very quickly, and now creating a prototype for the possible simulations. Here, equipped with VR glasses and "data gloves", experienced and prospective physicians or the medical staff are able to train for emergencies and act out “rehearsals” on how to take the right decisions quickly.

Digital vision: simulations for all areas of training

The Magdeburg-based company has the famous Charité hospital in Berlin as its principal partner. "Our vision in this area is to create a medical product which facilitates regular training with the goal of gaining qualifications, similar to airline pilots," explains Ruzic. To achieve this, however, it will be necessary for the guidelines and processes in the medical sector to be changed. For the "2tainment" team, attending specialist conferences is now high on the agenda - with the goal of sounding out new interest groups and the future demand. “We want to have our first operational version ready by 2020,” explains Ruzic. The Magdeburg-based company is also looking to the future in terms of other areas of use. Whether it is the fire department, the police, disaster response or even the world of sports – wherever it is necessary to train people, the simulation tools from the Magdeburg company could be of use. “There are almost no limits,” explains the entrepreneur, “as far as we are concerned, the future is the virtual world”.

Author: Manuela Bock

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