We are all living in an era where technology is evolving faster than ever before. And this rate of advancement keeps increasing manifold as time passes. Although the growth we’ve seen so far has been holistic for the most part. There are certain areas where tried and tested methods are still the popular practice. For instance, the medical imaging industry hasn’t seen a lot of change in decades. And although it may have been a long time coming, technology has new answers for medical imaging too!
More advanced visualization tools are quickly started to gain ground. Augmented and Virtual have begun to disrupt the healthcare industry with their innovative ways to visualize data that can be applied to a wide variety of sub fields ranging from physical rehabilitation to surgery prep.
AR and VR technologies are also ready to take on the medical education scene. So far, viewing information has only been two dimensional, but with the introduction of these groundbreaking new technologies the whole learning experience can be given a 3d twist.
AR and VR are also set to take the surgery department by storm. Surgeons are expected to benefit the most from these new technologies. It could help improve the precision of their treatment to a nuanced level.
Depth perception has always been a tricky aspect for doctors to handle. This is because most of the organs and blood vessels in our body are located in such close proximity to each other that even the slightest of movements could lead to fatal errors.
Luckily, such problems can easily be solved through technology. For example, A recent AR application that was developed has the ability to help guide a catheter to the brain to relieve pressure after an injury as it gives doctors more information by overlaying a computer image on top of the doctor’s real world view.
This can prove to be a game changer as locating the catheter’s tip while performing brain surgeries can be quite tricky for doctors. This AR system has the capacity to improve accuracy by detecting distances upto .5 millimeter!
Some facilities such as the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital has managed to take AR and VR one step further. They have created a mixed reality application that can be used to treat patients with spinal cord injuries. Mixed reality setups enable doctors to interact with virtually generated objects in real time giving them the abilities such as running test scenarios on virtual objects before they carry out operations on an actual human bodies!
These setups are powered by devices such as the microsoft hololens. They can even be used in scenarios where patients are required to relearn tasks. It can provide a safe virtually created environment for them when they need to perform tasks like holding a cup of hot coffee or a knife. The application could even be used to suggest obstacles if any, creating a supervised training ground for users as they work to regain lost function.
The possibilities of AR and VR are only limited by our imagination. It is no doubt that with enough research and proper usage, humans will come up with many new and innovative use cases for them to help make our lives and our doctors’ lives a whole lot easier.