If you happen to be a tech enthusiastic , you must have come across the term, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). These are the technologies in which many companies are interested these days. The era of VR and AR started since it was the main theme of CES 2017. And we all know we have seen a lot of development in the applications of the VR and AR technology in various fields like navigation, architecture, tourism, military or healthcare education and all the sub-fields of education. And here, we will discuss how augmented reality is being used and developed in the medical sector.
WHAT IS AUGMENTED REALITY?
The term augmented reality is not new, it was first introduced by Thomas Caudell, Boeing researcher, but it was developed and used later in devices. We won’t go too much technical here and describe out the things in the most simple manner, augmented reality lets user to see and observe the real world and graphical information is projected on it. It creates a kind of illusion of things which are not actually present in the real world. And this feature can be used in many different ways for various work.
You might be confused between augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). So, HOW VR is different from AR? The basic idea of both the technologies is to create a kind of illusion. But VR is different from AR, as it doesn’t allow user to see or observe the real word, rather than this, it creates it’s own environment and projects digital graphics with that.
Now if you understood that, let’s discuss the uses of AUGMENTED REALITY in medical sector.
TOP 10 APPLICATIONS & USES of AUGMENTED REALITY in MEDICAL & HEALTHCARE.
1. REAL TIME DOCTOR’S ASSISTANT
During patient visits doctor needs to visit computer for documentation and checking other information about patient, this take them away from patient care. Here comes the first application of augmented reality technology. During operating sessions doctors wears AR device, like Google Glass and other person, called Scribe joins and participate the sessions. The scribe can see and hear, what doctor observes and eventually assists the doctor. This makes it easier for doctor to operate the patient as there is no need to visit the computer, scribe helps in all that. This makes the technology more patient centric.
Involved Company:- AUGMEDIX
2. VISUAL INTERPRETER
The life of a visually disable person is probably the toughest. The disability causes the dependency on others. Here comes the most amazing use of AR technology. This includes integration of programming and smart AR devices. The system uses camera of smartphone or AR glasses to observe the environment and obstacles and inform the disabled person by using sounds. The powerful deep learning algorithms also recognition faces and obstacles, and help the disabled person to live independently.
Involved Company:- AIRA
3. EASY BLOOD TRANSFUSION
The transfusion of blood might not be the complex process, but sometimes it become hard to find out the small veins of infants, and if any kind of mistake can lead to injuries. For this, the augmented reality tech can be used. It allows the nurse to see the veins of the patient projected directly on their arm, by the smart AR devices, blood tests and starting an IV (intravenous injections) becomes easier. This simply makes process of transfusion of blood smoother for the patient and medical professionals.
4. 3D ANATOMY
Drawing 3D objects on sheets is difficult. You might observe the drawing of a house by an architect on sheets. It’s hard to understand, right? But have you ever tried to understand the drawing of human anatomy? You will surely find it the toughest of all even the medical students do find them complex. This is where the education purpose of augmented reality technology come forward, in form of an app. The app called Holo Anatomy uses Microsoft’s HoloLens to amazingly visualize the complex anatomy of human body. Using Microsoft’s HoloLens VR Headset and the app, the user is able to visualize every single and complex details of human body from head to toe and from surface to interior body in a 3D holographic model. This use of AR tech can be big revolution in complex education on further development.
Involved Company/APPs:- Holo Anatomy, Microsoft
5. GESTURES CONTROL
Operating patients is a difficult task as well as stressful for the doctor. Doctor not only have to operate the patient but also have to do the documentation of the medical information of the patient. The documentation and operation may become more difficult to do simultaneously when the situation is more stressful and complicated, like a patient who got attack, or situations like military paramedics. Here the AR tech helps a lot, by providing the gesture free systems, which allows medical examiner to do the documentation and other computer related tasks hands-free. And also, doctors can easily see the medical information displayed in front of them. This all increases the easiness of the stressful operations.
Involved Company:- ATHEER
A lot of medical problems exist related to neuro system. And one of them, about which we are going to talk specifically is Autism, it affects 3.5 Millions families in US. What is Autism? In easy language, Autism is neuro disease in which person faces problems such as decoding emotions, managing transitions and behaviors, eye contact, conversation, etc. To help people with this problem, a company called Brain Power uses augmented reality tech, Artificial Intelligence, and Google Glasses. The software based on machine learning transforms the AR devices into neuro-assistance. The software contains powerful data collection and analytic tools allowing for customized feedback for the child, and eventually helps the children and adults falling in this Autism Spectrum.
Involved Company:- Brain Power
7. X-RAY VISIONS
The operating of complex human parts, specifically spinal region, is a tough and time taking process. In this type of cases AR tech is used to reduce the surgery time and difficulties related to overall surgical incisions. Using this now doctors can have information of any part of the spine, where the patient has to be operated. The medical professionals now can have the X-RAY visions, or in simple words, they can see through the patient’s skin to observe whole anatomy, just by wearing the smart AR devices. This results in less cutting and tearing or incisions of patients body parts, which results in less recovery time. This will be a special type of surgery, after development of the AR devices and tech
Involved Company:- AUGMEDICS
8. CHECKING VISION DISORDER
Refractive disorders in vision like Myopia and hypermetropia are common and can be find easily by the patient after observing symptoms. But some of the disorders like glaucoma and cataracts might not be easy to find out by the patient himself. Here comes the use of augmented reality technology. EyeDecide, mobile application helps to find out these disorders. The patient concentric mobile application use user’s smartphone camera to show the effects of disorder on user’s vision. The app indirectly acknowledge patient and eventually helps patient to decide if he should fetch a doctor.
9. AR ULTRASOUND
Talking about the Ultrasound tech, it is being used in all over the world, the reach of this technology is highest, but not in remote areas, and the thing which is counted as its con, is the bulkiness of the Ultrasound machines and systems. The solution of this has been find using augmented reality technology. The use of AR glasses make the ultrasound system portable. The glasses can be used to see the ultrasound image. The increased portability can be helpful in remote areas where ultrasound machines are hard to establish. Several companies had successfully done this.
10. 3D X-RAY IMAGE
X-RAY images are formed when a part of body is exposed to the X-RAY radiations to form images. But gone those days when, X-Rays form those blurry 2D images. Now using AR tech the 3D X-Ray images can be formed. The 3 dimensional images can be formed without the exposing body part to harmful radiations. This is great use, as the 3D images can be seen in the real time, it will time of patients and disease can be cured by fast diagnosis.
Involved Company:- MEDSIGHTS-TECH
FUTURE SCOPE of AUGMENTED REALITY in HEALTH CARE
From the above discussion, you may have a strong opinion on what’s the future scope of AR in healthcare sector. The future is healthy for AR tech in this particular sector. But for now this technology is not able to dig down its roots completely. The main reason behind is the high cost of AR tech and its devices which are being used. But in future, on further development of AR devices, this innovative ideas will be available for all on affordable cost. According to a report the global market for AR/VR devices will reach $5.1 billion dollars. So, we can expect a great future ahead.
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