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We developed a virtual reality software application (iLarynx) using built-in accelerometer properties of the iPhone® or iPad® (Apple Inc., Cupertino, CA, USA) that mimics hand movements for the performance of fibreoptic skills. Twenty novice medical students were randomly assigned to virtual airway training with the iLarynx software or no additional training. Eight out of the 10 subjects in the standard training group had at least one failed (> 120 s) attempt compared with two out of the 10 participants in the iLarynx group (p = 0.01). There were a total of 24 failed attempts in the standard training group and four in the iLarynx group (p < 0.005). Cusum analysis demonstrated continued group improvement in the iLarynx, but not in the standard training group. Virtual airway simulation using freely available software on a smartphone/tablet device improves dexterity among novices performing upper airway endoscopy.