Simulation for medical and healthcare applications, although still in a relatively nascent stage of development, already has a history that can inform the process of further research and dissemination. The development of mannequin simulators used for education, training, and research is reviewed, tracing the motivations, evolution to commercial availability, and efforts toward assessment of efficacy of those for teaching cardiopulmonary resuscitation, cardiology skills, anaesthesia clinical skills, and crisis management. A brief overview of procedural simulators and part-task trainers is also presented, contrasting the two domains and suggesting that a thorough history of the 20+ types of simulator technologies would provide a useful overview and perspective. There has been relatively little cross fertilisation of ideas and methods between the two simulator domains. Enhanced interaction between investigators and integration of simulation technologies would be beneficial for the dissemination of the concepts and their applications.
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