Prairie Grove High School Student Produces Virtual Reality Surgical Videos

PRAIRIE GROVE, Ark. (KFSM) — A Prarie Grove High School student is working with doctors to produce a new kind of surgical video.

Maddi Garrett may seem like your average high school junior, but she’s also a rising star in the field of virtual reality technology.

“VR so far has been my passion and there’s so much potential with it too. There are kids like me and unlike me making life-changing games and experiences for people," Garrett said.

She was born with a type of hearing loss and wears a hearing aid. That’s how she met Dr. Gresham Richter at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

Garrett is helping Richter out by producing educational videos for his website.

“These videos won’t be something you have to spend $500 to see," Garrett said. "These will be something you can pull up on a website, google the video you want, search on there, pull it up on your phone and look around."

The Ricoh Theta camera has two fisheye lenses. It takes pictures or videos simultaneously providing a 360-degree view putting you at the center of the action.

An oculus headset helps the user step into a virtual tour of surgery.

Garrett is just one of the impressive students involved in the Education, Accelerated, by Science, and Technology program also known as the EAST initiative.

“I’m empowered every day by all of the kids. I encourage them to feel free to fail in EAST. So, they can learn what it means to get up, brush themselves off and start again," said Heath Whitley, EAST Initiative facilitator.

Garrett is going to continue working with virtual reality and already has big plans for the future.

“ I want to keep doing this, to keep working alongside Dr. Richter, or make my own company, or work in an existing company," Garrett said.

She is planning to record even more surgical videos, get other doctors involved, with the goal of creating a fully immersive virtual training program, changing the way surgeons everywhere are taught.

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