A virtual reality hand, complete with vital veins, that “feels” could help trainee nurses practise their jabs.

The tactile 3D virtual reality system uses force feedback technology that is usually found in video game controllers, known as haptics.

It could help in learning sensitive venopuncture skills on a variety of hand types, instead of plastic models.

The system, developed by UK Haptics, is still at an early stage, but could be used for training nurses next year.

Haptics is the term for physical sensors that provide a sense of touch at skin level and force feedback information from muscles and joints.

“This is very much like force feedback in gaming, but it is much more refined,” said Gary Todd of UK Haptics.

“You can feel the needle go through the skin; you can put it in the skin and lift it out,” he told BBC News Online.

“You can feel the soft skin and muscles and you can scratch the bone if you put it in the knuckle.”

More here.