Virtalis markets the Haptic Cow and Haptic Horse products and has already installed them in many of the UK’s leading veterinary schools. The systems draw on virtual touch, or haptics, and enable students to carry out virtual rectal and abdominal examinations.

Haptic force feedback technology has been deployed in the Haptic Cow to create a virtual reproductive tract, whilst the Haptic Horse replicates a virtual abdomen. Students interact with the systems within the seemingly empty fibreglass model of the rear half of a cow or horse.

The haptics device integrated into the systems is the Geomagic® Phantom® Premium™. This instrument makes it possible for users to suspend their disbelief and make touching and palpating virtual objects highly realistic. In addition, because the animal’s organs are visible on the computer monitor, the instructor can see exactly what the student is doing and direct their movements, something that isn’t possible with a real animal.

Both the Haptic Cow and Horse feature a range of conditions the students can learn about and these are replicated at the touch of a button.


Improved identification and palpation skills for students.
More efficient and effective one-to-one teaching with quick set-up and good visibility leads to improved teaching and feedback.
Consideration for animal welfare with fewer invasive examinations by better prepared students.
Increased confidence from learning the basics in a risk free virtual environment.

“The virtual environment of the Haptic Cow simulates the entire bovine reproductive tract, including models of the cervix, uterus and ovaries, with a wide range of fertility cases, pregnancies and some examples of pathology. We’ve developed a teaching protocol, so that the student learns initially to locate the uterus in different positions, mastering this fundamental skill before progressing on to fertility examinations and diagnosing pregnancy.”