Augmented Reality in Medicine

Since Robert Mann introduced the first virtual system in medicine in 1965, Augmented Reality has forever changed the way Physicians and practitioners go about caring for their patients. A revolutionary advancement in the realm of medicine, Augmented Reality, also known simply as “AR”, provides learners with an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information. This is all regardless of the physical setting, whether that be an operating room, clinic or classroom.

Benefits of Augmented Reality

The objects can be generated across multiple sensory modalities, including visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory and olfactory. This all occurs amidst a virtual space where physiological data from multiple sources can merge in real time. This maturing technology has since made possible imaging 3-D anatomical information actually overlaid on top of the patient.

Sponsored Content:

Oftentimes the objects are generated using displays that are worn directly in front of the eyes, and that overlay information onto the world of the viewer. A single AR display that integrates all imaging and patient data and allows doctors to keep their eyes on the patient has the potential to improve quality, safety and reduce cost by decreasing procedure-related complications.

Another benefit of the implementation of Augmented Reality in medicine is that the technology will likely reduce costs caused by safer procedures and by eliminating the need for redundant screens. Currently ultrasound, endoscopy, and bronchoscopy all require hospitals to buy costly systems, each with a separate display. Alternatively, Augmented Reality can provide a shared display, reducing the need for a dedicated monitor for each aspect of a patient’s data over time.

Although this technology has not been readily integrated into common societal use, Augmented Reality is expanding rapidly in professional context. This is because the potential benefits stemming from the use of Augmented Reality for educational and training purposes are immeasurable.

For example, Augmented Reality has been shown to have great purpose across surgery and surgical training. According to the Harvard Business Review article “How Augmented Reality Will Make Surgery Safer,” Augmented Reality’s potential ability to concurrently display imaging data and other patient information could save lives and decrease medical errors. Augmented Reality could also potentially transform Electronic Medical Records by providing a means by which Physicians and Practitioners do not need to turn away from a patient to look at a monitor.

Sponsored Content:

However, the article’s authors, Sarah Murthi, MD and Amitabh Varshney clearly establish that the technology is still in relatively early stages. Considering Augmented Reality is in such early phases, there are a number of challenges that will need to be overcome to expand the technology’s use across the medical community.

One challenge of Augmented Reality is that hardware needs to be advanced to fit securely and comfortably on a practitioner’s head. The images also need quality advancements that will enable them to be as opaque as possible, while for others they will need to be more translucent. Another technical challenge impacting Augmented Reality use is that, if the projected images are being used for operative guidance, they need to be positioned with extreme accuracy.

Despite these challenges, the future of Augmented Reality being used across medicine for training and education is bright. From brain surgery to reconnecting blood vessels research teams across the world are working closely with Augmented Reality technology companies. Today, teams at Stanford, Duke and Johns Hopkins are all working to merge and project visual data, while simultaneously creating Augmented Reality displays ideal for patient care, the Harvard Business Review reports.

Augmented Reality Products

One type of relatively well-known Augmented Reality that could be used in medical simulation product is Google Glass, a brand of smart glasses with an optical head-mounted display. The display is designed in the shape of a pair of eyeglasses so that Google Glass can exhibit information in a smartphone-like, hands-free format. Pairing with smart glasses, a few AR software companies have developed an ultrasound scanner, which with the help of products like Google Glass work as a traditional one. is dedicated to providing the latest Augmented Reality news and #MedSim resources from around the world. To follow along, sign up for our free medical simulation email newsletter, follow @HealthySim on Twitter and @HealthySim on Facebook, or join our HealthySim LinkedIn Group!

Another Augmented Reality option, a team of researchers at Imperial College London at St. Mary’s Hospital in London, England have demonstrated how Mixed Reality and Microsoft HoloLens headsets can be used while operating on patients undergoing reconstructive lower limb surgery. According to the Imperial Team, the technology can help surgeons locate and reconnect key blood vessels during reconstructive surgery.

This technique could help to improve outcomes for patients. Using HoloLens, Practitioners and learners can overlay scan images onto the patient during the operation. This is so they can see elements like bones, the course of the blood vessels and identify exactly where the targets are located.

Also on the market, an Augmented Reality system called ProjectDR, created by computing science graduate students Ian Watts and Michael Fiest at the University of Alberta in Canada, allows medical images such as CT scans and MRI data to be displayed directly on a patient’s body. Then, the image moves as the patient moves thanks to custom software, giving the practitioner a full view of the patient’s internal anatomy.

Click Here to Connect to Leading Medical Simulation AR Vendors

According to the developers, ProjectDR also has the capacity to present segmented images. This means the software is capable of showing only the lungs or the blood vessels. The exact body part needing imaging will depend on what a practitioner is required to see, leaving out any other distraction and achieving more focus in the targeted area.

In the coming years, U.S.-based Magic Leap and Munich-based Brainlab are also hoping to add an innovative dimension to surgical procedures and medical imaging in an operating system through Augmented Reality for craniotomy planning. Their operating system combines medical technology company Brainlab’s data management, cloud computing, visualization, and data pre-processing software with Augmented Reality technology company Magic Leap’s spatial computing and experiential platforms.

According to the companies, the first release of the product promises to enable surgical planning and simulation in an office setting. The companies also says this will quickly be expanded to include a next-generation mix of virtual and physical worlds for the operating room, radiotherapy treatment room, intensive care unit, and radiology suite.

AR in Medicine Latest News

GIGXR Holopatient

GIGXR HoloPatient Enables Distance-Based XR Clinical Simulation Training During COVID-19

Since the appearance of the novel coronavirus and the ensuing COVID-19 pandemic, every aspect of life has changed. For healthcare students in hands-on clinical training programs, social distancing requirements have ...
Read More
Mixed Reality Healthcare Simulation

Recorded Webinar: Using AI and Augmented Mixed Reality to Enhance Training Experiences

Continuing our version of "March Madness" today at 9AM PT, 12PM ET, Dr. Amar Patel, Chief Learning Officer at CAE Healthcare, recorded his presentation "Using AI and Augmented Mixed Reality ...
Read More
Virtual Reality and Healthcare Symposium

Virtual Reality and Healthcare Symposium Day 2: Pain Management, VR Innovators & More

The second day of the VR and Healthcare Global Symposium opened today with a keynote from Dr. Brennan Spiegel, MD, MSHS, Director of Health Services Research, at Cedars-Sinai's Health System ...
Read More
VR Healthcare Symposium

4th VR Voice Healthcare Conference Opens at Vanderbilt University Nashville

The VR and Healthcare Global Symposium celebrates its 4th annual event today at Vanderbilt University in Nashville Tennessee, where an estimated 300+ attendees, vendors, entrepreneurs, investors and Virtual Reality experts ...
Read More
Firefighter AR Training

California Firefighter Academy Students Train with Virtual Reality

Sacramento's Local CBS News station recently reported that for the first time ever, fire academy recruits in Elk Grove and Galt are using virtual reality technology to train thanks to ...
Read More
medical simulation methodologies

Medical Simulation Methodologies: A Closer Look

The latest Healthcare Simulation Book from the Springer Published Series has been published — and its all about operations! “Comprehensive Healthcare Simulation: Operations, Technology, and Innovative Practice”, provides a focus on ...
Read More
clinical simulation news

Latest Clinical Simulation News Updates From Around the World: September 2019

A busy month for Clinical Simulation news updates from around the world -- today we take a look at the latest updates showcasing the continued growth of our community and ...
Read More

SimGHOSTS 2019 Day 2 Brings Simulation Technician Connections, Innovations & Sessions

SimGHOSTS 2019 USA Day 2 launched this morning at the Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences at FIU in Miami. The event brings over 270 medical simulation attendees and ...
Read More
CAE Vimedix: 3 Ultrasound Simulator Configurations in Just 1 Platform

CAE Vimedix: 3 Ultrasound Simulator Configurations in Just 1 Platform

CAE Healthcare recently announced the dynamic redesign of Vimedix 3.0, providing healthcare simulation programs more in the education of ultrasound simulation. The CAE Vimedix ultrasound simulator platform is one of ...
Read More
Epic Games Supports Precision OS: Orthopedic Surgery Training in VR Using Unreal Engine

Epic Games Supports Precision OS: Orthopedic Surgery Training in VR Using Unreal Engine

Orthopedic surgery is no game. Get it right, and a patient’s life can be transformed for the better. Get it wrong, and they could end up worse off than before ...
Read More
Stanford & UCF Study Finds Learners Avoid Collisions with Virtual Humans in Augmented Reality

Stanford & UCF Study Finds Learners Avoid Collisions with Virtual Humans in Augmented Reality

Interacting with virtual humans in an augmented reality training environment seems to carry over into the real world, prompting people to respect the personal space of virtual characters even when ...
Read More
Yale HP Augmented Reality Manikin

Yale & HP Research Program Blends Reality to Bring New Perspective to Healthcare Simulation

Writer Mike Cummings' recent article on Yale's website entitled ‘Blended Reality’ Brings Diverse Perspectives to Emerging Tech, showcases a collaborative research program exhibition between Yale and HP that brings new ...
Read More

Subscribe for the Latest AR in Medicine News!

Sponsored Content: