Deepening Minor: Virtual and Augmented Reality for Digital Medicine

Verdiepende minor
10 weken


This minor aims at giving the students an understanding of VR/AR applications, their use, how they are developed and why they are increasingly popular in training and everyday lives of doctors and other medical caregivers and staff. The minor builds a link between theoretical foundations, medical applications and own creativity. It combines various educational formats, from lectures on basics and theory, via specific practical tasks to deepen understanding, to an extensive practical hands on lab and field course.

The minor is composed of the following elements:

Theory of medical VR and AR (each supplemented with practical tasks)

Introduction to VR and AR (30 hours of lectures)

The future of digital medicine; AR and VR technology; state of the art and examples of VR and AR applications; game engines; interfaces and visualisation concepts

Introduction to Medical Image Processing (15 hours of lectures)

Basics of image processing; filtering; light CT; image formats; transformation; segmentation; classification

Introduction to Programming (medical) Applications (15 hours of lectures)

Theory of programming; differences between various programming languages; programming principles and methods

Hands on Lab Project
- 1: Performing self-management in a small design team and doing weekly design reviews with the supervisors.

- 2: Developing a full concept of an own VR or AR medical application.
- 3: Acquiring technical skills of programming a VR or AR medical application using game engines such as Unreal Engine or Unity.

User experience in VR and AR for medical applications

Experiencing the use of medical VR and AR in real-life clinical, educational and field applications like OP-room preparation training, AR-assisted neurosurgery, patient training for stoma use, serious gaming, and many more.

Learning objectives

Participants of the course

  • can name conceptual differences of VR and AR
  • know the most important programming techniques and methods for medical VR and AR
  • can explain how medical imaging algorithms work and what limitations to expect in given contexts
  • can define needs and requirements for the design and use of medical VR and AR applications
  • learn to self-organize, lead and control design teams of 3-5 members and participate in design review meetings with the supervisors
  • learn to conceptualize a technical solution which meets a current need in medical training or medical everyday life
  • learn to use digital medicine to solve problems of future healthcare
  • can present their work in a presentation and answer critical questions about the work’s concept and its subsequent implementation
  • acquire hands-on experience with different programming techniques and development environments
  • can interconnect with different head-mounted displays (HMDs) and controlling devices
  • know about major obstacles in the design and implementation of medical VR- and AR applications incorporating hardware and software
  • set up a real-life project in medical VR and AR application development

Special aspects

This minor is accessible for 3rd year medical students from the Erasmus MC and the LUMC. The course language will be English, therefore, a good command of the English language is necessary.
The practical parts of the minor will be conducted in small groups of students.
Attendance during all educational parts and lab courses is obligatory.

Special characteristics:

  • All elements of the minor program (10 weeks) will be presented in the University of Siegen, Germany. Housing capabilities for minor participants will be provided free of charge during the minor.
  • Because this minor will comprise 10 weeks abroad, registration will take place early, from 1-15 April 2021; make sure you have registered before 15 April 2021!
  • Because this whole minor will take place abroad, you cannot have exam resits during the total minor period (31 August – 6 November 2021)

Overview content per week


Week 01: Introduction to Augmented Reality (AR); AR Concept development and AR user experience in real-life clinical and educational medical contexts

Week 02: Introduction to programming and Unreal Engine; AR lab project

Week 03: Theory: Image processing for medical applications; How to build a visual light computed tomography device

Week 04: Introduction to Virtual Reality (VR); VR concept development, VR lab project and VR user experience in real-life clinical and educational medical contexts

Week 05: Theory: Advanced application development - Do's and Don'ts of software development; preparation for the hands on project: application development workshops

Week 06: Working with the Siegen Skills Lab; project management basics; concept design for an own medical VR or AR application

Week 07: Hands on project: Concept, implementation and design reviews (1)

Week 08: Hands on project: Concept, implementation and design reviews (2), planning evaluation under real life conditions

Week 09: Hands on project: Finalizing implementation, evaluation under real-life conditions, final Review

Week 10: Final project presentations; Exam

Teaching methods

This minor involves several teaching methods. Basic knowledge of augmented reality, virtual reality and image processing is conveyed in a lecture-and inverted classroom style within the first four weeks. Those lessons take place in the morning and are accompanied by closely guided practical parts including field studies in the afternoon. Students get their first hands-on experience with using VR and AR applications, game engines as well as VR and AR hardware. In the last third of the minor the students work in self-organized groups, “simulating” a small engineering company. In this phase active supervision will be reduced, resulting in a nearly real-life project with weekly design review meetings.

Teaching materials

All required material will be provided during and after the courses via the MOODLE learning platform of University of Siegen.

This material covers:
• Power Point slides used during the lectures
• Further reading, relevant for the exams where indicated, more for deepening and broadening knowledge on the field
• Precise descriptions of material to be used during the lab courses
• All hardware, devices, sensors and programming tools required for the lab course
• Scientific/technical literature on the respective practical problem to be solved during the creative project
• A communication platform for group-based work

Method of examination

Method of examination

  • Written exam (3 hr) covering the contents of the lectures and the further reading material as indicated, as well as the methodological aspects of the lab course.
  • Written report on the results of the hands on project covering concept development, project management and programming.
  • Presentation and live demonstration of the AR/VR-application developed in the hands on project.

Composition final grade

The final grade of this minor will be determined as follows:

  • Written exam (50%)
  • Written report (25%)
  • Live demonstration and presentation of own application (25%)

Each of these elements needs to be passed with a grade of 5,5 or higher.

Students will get the opportunity from their supervisors to evaluate their exam grading. They will receive feedback on their research report and PowerPoint presentation.




Erasmus MC: dr. Jifke Veenland
+31 10 7043122
Room NA-2603

Siegen, Germany: Prof. Dr. Rainer Brück
+49 271 233 927 91
Am Eichenhang 50, D-57076 Siegen

Verdiepende minor
10 weken
Erasmus MC
Studiepunten (EC)

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