Engineering CORE

The SIMPedsTM Engineering Core provides three main service lines: SIMEngineeringTM SIMInventorSpaceTM and SIMPeds SIM3D PrintTM


SIMEngineeringTM integrates high fidelity simulator and device design and manufacturing with curriculum development pathways to optimize training, surgical planning and care delivery. Through a combination of materials science, special effects and engineering expertise, SIMEngineering focuses on development of whole body mannequins and skills trainers from neonatal to adolescents.


How do I get started?

To submit a SIMEngineering Project: Log-in to

using your BCH username/password and select “SIMEngineering Request” under Request Forms tab.




“Newborn” (Approx. 2 weeks) baby head and neck area with approximate musculature over the carotid and jugular area.
This simulator also includes proper plumbing and tubes that allow the simulation of natural heartbeat/bloodflow.
The intended us of this simulator is extracorporeal membrane oxygenation by placement of a catheter into the central vein. A mechanical pump draws blood from the vein into the ECMO circuit, where the blood passes into a chamber known as the “oxygenator”

The goal of the ECMO project is to create a trainer that allows the surgeon to practice the cannulation techniques that are performed on neonates in our ICU. Current trainers lack the haptics that are reflective of neonatal tissue. This trainer would allow for the tissue dissection and cannulation to be more realistic, therefore providing a valuable resource to surgical trainees.

— Dr. Jill Zalieckas

Key feature of this trainer include: a replaceable haptic and saturable prosthetic skin including a subcutaneous surface to wrap around the existing mannequin, a replaceable Jugular and Carotid, a connection to the existing blood flow system, and additional blood flow to the skin and subcutaneous structure.


High-fidelity patient-specific ETV trainer:


Initiatives of surgical quality improvements have forced the neurosurgical community to rethink medical training. Recent advances in optics and miniaturization have enabled neurosurgeons to approach selected conditions with less brain exposure, manipulation and trauma. These complex surgical techniques pose unique challenges for surgeons such as reduced tactile feedback, loss of three-dimensional visualization, and increased emphasis on hand-eye coordination. Surgeons undergo intensive laboratory training; however, conventional models have lacked the life-like qualities that would accurately simulate the actual surgical procedure.

The goal of this study is to create high-fidelity patient-specific 3D printed models of hydrocephalus, a neurosurgical condition, to perform and practice endoscopic third ventriculostomy, a minimally invasive procedure. These novel realistic 3D models will provide means to enhance the acquisition of technical skills and improve surgical performance in a risk-free environment. This project has the potential to fundamentally change the way neurosurgery has been taught and practice, enhance personal skills and, ultimately, maximize patient safety.

— Alan R. Cohen, MD

— Roberta Rehder, MD


Surgical Sam:

Surgical SAM Trainer

Co-developed by The Chamberlain Group and Boston Children’s Hospital Simulator Program (SIMPeds) as the centerpiece of their team training initiatives in pediatric surgery, Surgical Sam is a modular system representing a 14-month-old infant. The base unit, with indubitable airway, incision- and suture-compatible skin, and bilateral radial pulses, accepts specialty modules for multi-discipline team training scenarios.

“Sam is a significant advance in making pediatric simulation as realistic as possible and adds a new dimension to clinical and team training in some of our most high-stakes areas— the operating rooms.”

— Peter Weinstock, MD, PhD,

Director, Boston Children’s Hospital Simulator Program SIMPeds
Bringing Practice to the Practice of Medicine


Neuro CRICO Head:

NeuroCIRCO 200X200This trainer was designed to serve two purposes: Firstly, to practice the insertion of an External Ventricular Drain (EVD) whereby participants enter the top of the skull, travel through simulated brain tissue, and reach a lateral ventricle where they are able to obtain cerebrospinal fluid.
Second, to determine location of a posterior fossa bleed by entering the base of the skull and moving through the simulated brain tissue to find source of bleeding.
The trainer is unique in that it is a full sized pediatric head that has the ability to attach to a mannequin body. The areas of interest for both objectives have easily replaceable tissues to allow for a quick turn over between participants.


Ultrasound Head:

UltrasoundTrainer 200X200Historically, skills training in performing neonatal brain ultrasonography (BUS) have been limited to real infants due to a lack of adequate synthetic models or alternatives. The objective of this trainer was to determine the utility of using a novel simulator model for teaching radiology residents how to perform neonatal BUS. Key elements of design were a brain phantom with Ventricles as well as fontanelles and a lifelike skin covering the head.


Neonatal Chest Trainer:

Neonatal Chest Trainer 200X200Drs. Biren Modi and Jill Zalieckas from the Department of Surgery for a plug-and-play Neonatal Chest Trainer. This trainer will allow fellows to practice their laparoscopic surgery skills and focus on the task of repairing a tracheoesophageal atresia (TEA).


SIMInventorSpaceTM – Leveraging Simulator Program engineering expertise, BCH has opened the first in-hospital rapid prototyping center to accelerate device innovation. Aimed at improving care of children from multiple vantage points, engineers work directly with clinicians on novel solutions to clinical needs. Collaborative efforts on ideation and design result in prototypes in weeks that would traditionally have taken months, if not years, to realize.

For more information about SIMInventorSpace, visit SIMPeds Inventor Lab

Engineering Core2

SIMPeds SIM3D PrintTM – The Boston Children’s Hospital Simulator Program offers a 3D print service that provides ultrahigh fidelity patient-specific models for surgical planning and preparation. Patient anatomy is printed on one of five in-house 3D printers by layering and fusing flexible and rigid material composites at the pixel level to create stunningly accurate, functional replicas of patient anatomy. Quantifiable benefits that are now being realized on a daily basis include reduction of intra-operative time, reduction in blood loss, heightened confidence in approach and fewer complications.

For more information about 3D printing services, visit SIMPeds 3D Print



Media Coverage of Engineering CORE at Global Pediatric Innovation Summit + Awards 2015


FrenchNewsMy TFI News

Aux États-Unis, les maquilleurs d’Hollywood créent des mannequins pour les chirurgiens

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Horror Flick Special FX Team Takes Surgery From Red Peppers to OR Simulation

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The_Boston_GlobeLOGO194The Boston Globe

Special effects helping to train residents at Boston Children’s Hospital

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Boston Business Journal Header _LOGO194Boston Business Journal

How Hollywood’s special effects are helping surgeons in Boston

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BostonMagazine_LOGOBoston Magazine

Boston Children’s Hospital Is Using Special Effects to Improve Medical Training

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The_New_York_Times-LOGO-194The New York Times

Artificial Patients, Real Learning

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Hollywood FX artists help doctors practice child surgery

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PR Newswired_LOGOPR Newswire

Boston Children’s Hospital teams with Hollywood SFX company to build next-generation patient models

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With help from Hollywood, BCH Program revamps Surgical Trainers

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Boston Children’s Teams Up with Hollywood FX Firm for Surgical Simulation

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halldale_logoHallandale Group

Boston Children’s Hospital & Fractured FX Create Models that Feel Real

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Vector_LOGOVector, Boston Children’s Hospital

Hollywood SFX take medical training to a new level of realism

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3D Printed Surgical Models Just Got More Realistic Thanks to Fractured FX and Boston Children’s Hospital

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3D printed simulator models by Fractured FX allow surgeons to practice operations for sick kids

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