Economy & Politics

The fight against viruses goes from real to … virtual

The start-up Virtual Rangers specializes in professional training provided via virtual reality headsets. The Ministry of the Economy has chosen to support its project intended to introduce caregivers to the management of covid patients.



The start-up Virtual Rangers specializes in professional training provided via virtual reality headsets. The Ministry of the Economy has chosen to support its project intended to introduce caregivers to the management of covid patients.

Last April, Franz Fayot challenged Luxembourg start-ups. It is up to them to bring their weapons in the fight against the epidemic. And the message quickly reached the ears of Matthieu Bracchetti. “For three years, we had made progress in the field of training adapted to industrial or hospital establishments, I said to myself that we had something to bring”, smiles the founder-director of Virtual Rangers. His “trick”: a virtual immersion helmet. His “extra trick” to adapt the scenarios proposed to caregivers.

Wi, Firma Fast Track Diagnostics, Siemens Healthineers Company, Esch, Op Sommet, Foto: Guy Jallay / Luxemburger Wort

Fast Track Diagnostics has increased its activity by 20 in the past six months. It is true that the start-up produces diagnostic agents including for covid-19. Here it is found in cramped conditions on its Esch-sur-Alzette site.

Since the spring, the VR teams based in Luxembourg have been thinking about training that new staff in a department could follow so as not to make mistakes. First to ensure their own health, then to allow the correct care of the patients they come across. Scenarios to better understand reality in situ once acquired the right reflexes.

After analyzing the file presented as part of the StartupVsCovid program, the Ministry of the Economy said ‘banco’ for a boost. “We have already received 75% of the aid of 150,000 euros offered. It was the essential advance to mobilize our skills on this project. And there, I am confident, we will be able to present the first complete prototype by March 2021. ” And that we do not come and tell the young business manager that by then, the virus will have made it possible to control the covid contamination, and that the researchers will have discovered the remedy for Sars-Cov2. “Because beyond the coronavirus, what we will offer could be applied to any type of pandemic”. Well seen.

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Who will find themselves, tomorrow therefore, with the helmet of Virtual Rangers on the head will be offered three formations. One on the strict protocols to be followed for the dressing of personnel exposed to possible contagious subjects. Hand washing, putting in place of the various protections in an order and methods guaranteeing their perfect effectiveness (in particular waterproofing), then entering a risk zone: the employee (nurse, doctor, caregiver, etc.) will thus be able to virtually do mistakes without risking your own skin.

“Because this is the whole advantage of virtual reality training: being exposed to risk without being physically reachable”, emphasizes Matthieu Bracchetti. A truth as valid in the hospital as in other workplaces. Moreover, it is always this same principle that has allowed Virtual Rangers to be retained by ArcelorMittal to set up training in the use of its cranes.

Wi, PK OGB-L Commerce, Unterstützung für die Geschäfte, rue Alzette Foto: Guy Jallay / Luxemburger Wort

The government has not only decided to maintain the aid system for SMEs until March 2021, but also to open the scope of beneficiaries, in particular to retail businesses and vocational training organizations.

“It’s not easy to be allowed to make mistakes by being under one of these machines which lift 260 tonnes of fusion metal. We have therefore recreated the universe of the steel hall in Differdange and coded accident-causing situations so that employees get used to integrating the right reflex in such and such a case. There, the danger will be just a virus (the projection of which we will make visible). But preventive actions can be learned through the same means of the helmet. ”

Advantage of the helmet: several people can

Advantage of the helmet: several people can “train” independently of each other.

Photo: Guy Jallay

The second scenario proposed will relate to the undressing of caregivers. Here again, a series of gestures to follow imperatively. While the third program under development will concern the care of patients. What symptoms are identified, to what degree? What to do with the instruments used for the consultation (trash or disinfection)? Which service should the patient be referred to or which treatment should be given as a priority? How to deal with a large flow of issues to be managed on a tight schedule? And always how to avoid exposing yourself to the slightest risk of virus transmission?

“We will work on a fluid 3D version that is perfectly immersive for the simulation in real conditions, but also a 2d version intended for e-learning on mobile or PC”, anticipates the CEO of Virtual Rangers. So many training courses for which the start-up of six employees is surrounded by advice from health professionals. The contacts made during previous missions with the CHL or the Robert-Schuman Hospitals, have proved particularly useful in recreating the risk linked to covid as closely as possible.


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