BOSTON—He built his resume working on big-budget projects such as "Jurassic Park" and the Harry Potter theme park. But in a career plot twist, master prop molder Gregory Loan left behind the magic of Hollywood for the realism of the medical classroom.
The change had Loan returning to school to study robotics and earn a master's degree from Harvard Extension School. From there he landed a job with the Boston Children's Hospital Simulator Program, which creates realistic mannequins for clinicians to practice their skills on.
He can expertly recreate organs, veins, skin and body parts out of clay and silicone, complete with robotic mechanisms underneath the skin of the dummies so that they are responsive to practicing clinicians.
"Simulation technology is the perfect overlap in the Venn diagram of special effects and robotics," Loan said. "We make artificial patients, highly sophisticated robots that look, feel and respond like real patients."