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Virtual cow helps student vets

03 Aug 2007

Virtual cow helps student vets The University of Nottingham has purchased a £25,000 'virtual' cow's rear-end, in order to help students in their first year learning to practice rectal examinations.

Along with the Royal Veterinary College and Glasgow University, Nottingham is the only university in the UK to possess on of the electric-powered posterior.

Jon Huxley, associate professor of farm animal medicine at Nottingham University, commented: "We've found that, once the initial 'you must be joking' reaction is over, the students are instantly won over by the system.

"In fact, I seem to remember scepticism was my first reaction too, but now I recognize it for the extremely valuable learning experience it provides."

The electric cow bottom, known as the Haptic Cow, will become a regular part of veterinary courses beginning in the next academic year.

The Haptic Cow allows students to actually see what is happening as they palpate the cow's reproductive tract and perform fertility examinations. It uses haptic (touch feedback) technology, which allows the user to receive response on his or her movements.

The procedures are difficult to teach and learn using standard traditional methods, particularly as it is something that students need plenty of practice at before they can do it properly. The Haptic Cow will serve as a supplement to traditional teaching methods.
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