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Eighth World Congress on Alternatives report (I): Multimedia Exhibition

Eighth World Congress on Alternatives report (I): Multimedia Exhibition

InterNICHE co-organises Multimedia Exhibition of Alternatives in Education
and Training

The Multimedia Exhibition of Alternatives in Education and Training at the
Eighth World Congress on Alternatives in the Life Sciences (WC8; Montreal,
August 2011) was a collaborative effort between InterNICHE and Animalearn,
following the example of replacement-focused exhibitions organised by
InterNICHE at previous World Congresses. It brought the resources of both
organizations together, including an even wider range of alternatives from
their libraries - the InterNICHE Alternatives Loan System and Animalearn�s
The Science Bank.

The alternatives covered medicine, veterinary medicine and biology and
were grouped according to discipline. These included anatomy, physiology,
pharmacology, clinical skills and surgery. The main academic and training
level was university and professional, with some alternatives suitable for
high school students and teachers. At each station a range of software,
models, mannekins and simulators were on display, available for trial, or
demonstrated by the producers themselves. Volunteers fluent in English,
French, Spanish and other languages guided visitors and gave
demonstrations according to their own educational focus and experience.

The exhibition presented both established replacement tools and newly
launched products. Among the highlights was SimuRat, the new combination
of interactive mannekin and computer program simulating pharmacological
experiments on rats, from Dr C Patil (India); the perfusion-based POP
trainer for laparoscopic and other surgical procedures from Optimist
(Austria); the Biopac Student Lab, a physiology self-experimentation
apparatus from Biopac (USA); the Critical Care Jerry canine mannekin, with
breath and heart sounds simulator, from Rescue Critters (USA); the canine
ovario-hysterectomy trainer from Paws2Claws (USA); a range of medical
training models and simulators from Limbs & Things (UK); new inanimate
frog models for practical dissection, from VetEffects (USA); and a range
of plastinated dissected animals.

The hands-on alternatives - particularly the surgery simulators - were
very popular, and the exhibition had a sizeable clinical skills and
surgery suite with three veterinary surgeons from InterNICHE available for
demonstrations. Over 100 software alternatives from the above disciplines
and several others were also presented. These included anatomy programs,
both simulations of dissections and those that use technology such as
QTVR, advanced animations and fly-throughs to go beyond dissection or its
simulation to help in the visualisation of structure; physiology and
pharmacology virtual laboratories, including but not limited to
simulations of classical preparations; and virtual anaesthesia and
critical care simulators.

Exemplary alternatives in clinical skills and internal medicine included
the Glass Horse Equine Colic DVD from the University of Georgia (USA), and
in anatomy the Virtual Canine Anatomy DVD from the University of Colorado
(USA). Selected software alternatives and clips showing perfused cadavers
for surgical training and virtual reality (VR) training devices were
presented on a large monitor, and there was a discussion on haptic
technology. Access to databases was provided at one station, with training
in database search techniques offered. The exhibition provided access to
the beta version of the new InterNICHE website and its updated databases
of alternatives and academic studies.

The Multimedia Exhibition at WC8 had an even greater presence from experts
and producers from across the world who were able to contribute to a
rolling program of detailed demonstrations, and film recording of some
demonstrations was made to make further use of the opportunities created
by the event. A valuable opportunity was provided to a number of oral
presenters to illustrate their talks about established and new
alternatives with live demonstrations. The possibility to meet and network
with producers and engage in discussion with experts on specific tools and
on their implementation was appreciated by delegates. Some producers
offered their new products for inclusion in the organizations� libraries
and on-line databases. A number of items were borrowed, wish lists
inspired by the diversity and quality of the tools displayed were written,
and invitations were extended to organise similar events at forthcoming
conferences in other countries.

The Multimedia Exhibition gave a practical focus to the exploration of
alternatives in education and training, making the issue more tangible;
and provided a hub for discussion, networking and sharing of resources and
experience. Future exhibitions can build on the success of that at WC8,
extending it by providing more �live� clinical skills and surgery training
using simulated blood and organs, and ethically sourced animal and human
cadavers; including a greater number of resources, including alternatives,
available for donation and for sale; inviting corporate and academic
producers to have stalls and bringing more VR input with the inclusion of
surgical training platforms; and forging a closer relationship between the
Multimedia and Industrial Exhibitions.

InterNICHE and Animalearn gratefully acknowledge the support of the
Alternatives Research & Development Foundation (ARDF), the Dutch Society
for Replacement of Animal Testing (Proefdiervrij) and the Swiss League
Against Vivisection (LSCV).

Nick Jukes, InterNICHE
Laura Ducceschi, Animalearn

Further information available at:

Nick Jukes
InterNICHE Co-ordinator

98 Clarendon Park Road
Leicester LE2 3AE

tel: +44 116 210 9652
mobile: +44 7552 972 770

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