Although CPD is usually based around traditional lecture and tutorial style courses, it is possible for sources other than cameras to provide content for these specialised IPTV channels: ?haptics? simulators are increasingly common and provide a virtual environment where realistic touch feedback is provided to the user via a number of motors that resist the operator?s movements whenever a virtual obstacle is encountered (Minogue 2006). This is combined with a 3D (anatomical) display which provides for a more immersive environment. For example, the user picks up a pen-like control held in a motorised cradle. The simulation can show a virtual drill or scalpel, or similar hand-held tool, and reposition it according to the hand movements of the user. If the virtual drill contacts virtual bone in the 3D simulation, the hand-piece no longer moves forward, giving the user the feeling that they really are cutting into bone with the genuine article. If the drill touches virtual flesh, slightly less resistance is felt and even virtual blood can be spilled, giving the user a literally ?hands-on? training experience without risk to real patients (Hutchins et al. 2005).
Such haptics tools have direct applications in CPD environments: in the ? 5 iptv Uni TV? PoC a live IP video stream from a haptics cochlear implant surgical 3D simulator was captured by the IPTV platform, and then made available as a live surgical training IPTV video channel (IBES 2011). The Melbourne Dental School is also planning to use such haptics trainers for the practice of various types of clinical procedures.
The IPTV system is able to automatically record such inputs so that they then become available as VoD material for subsequent view by (CPD) students unable to attend the live demonstration, or for those who were present but also wish to go over the material at a time and place of their choosing. This is the so-called ?time- and place-shifting? model: students increasingly expect to have access to such flexible online, or ?eLearning?, alternatives.
IPTV obviously has potential in delivering education services of a more general nature to the public, but there is also ample scope for it to be used in targeted ways for particular applications in the community. For example, there are large numbers of the population in lower socio-economic categories, such as migrants (English as second language), indigenous, and the aged. These segments of the population tend to have difficulties with personal computers and Internet tools: they are less likely to have adequate finances or the required skills to use the technology. This means that their access to vital information is often compromised, which negatively impacts on their financial and health literacy for example (Schillinger 2002).
(IP) TV offers the above-described groups the potential to reach what is, for them, otherwise inaccessible information via a more familiar and friendly interface. Making information accessible via a remote control and TV makes it much more likely to get through to the target group. Equally importantly, the provision of a relatively inexpensive STB means existing TV?s in the home can be used without incurring high levels of additional expense. IPTV can easily be provided at alternative venues such as libraries, health centres, and other public places to improve access even further.