“Augmented Reality” is defined by Merriam-Webster as “an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device”. At ARinMed, we look at AR in a more practical way, so we define AR as: “the addition of artificial information to one or more of the senses allowing the user to perform tasks more efficiently and accurately.” Now, that’s what we should be talking about! So, what is Augmented Reality in Medicine? Augmented Reality in medicine is the application of AR technology in ANY field of medicine to achieve higher quality information, greater patient management, fewer mistakes and more efficient results, which will benefit patients and doctors alike.
Now, here comes the big question: What should we expect from AR? Everything you can imagine is a possibility. One of the first medical studies related to AR, and specifically the Microsoft’s HoloLens platform, was conducted by Case Western Reserve University. At the Microsoft Build 2016 conference, CWRU presented a 3D map of portions of the human anatomy and demonstrated how they could create a dynamic anatomy with ultrasound and blend 3D models of a patient’s organs with real-time interoperative data. Through this program, a physician could examine internal organs in 3D, use AR technology to rotate the organs in 3D, and enable the user to quickly identify potential concerns that previously may have not been readily identifiable. CWRU also demonstrated that professors could use AR to dramatically reduce the time it takes to teach; what may have taken several hours in an anatomy lab could be taught in minutes using AR technology. It was also demonstrated that AR allows the teacher and the student to be in different locations and interact as if they are in one. This demonstration was nothing short of amazing and demonstrated that the possibilities with augmented reality are truly endless.
Sources: Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), CWRU AR anatomy study, Microsoft Build 2016
ARinMed’s mission is to help medical professionals all over the world have more opportunities to use the groundbreaking Augmented Reality technology and to be able to provide state-of-the-art medical services to their patients. Augmented Reality and medicine can end up saving lives and improving the quality of life for patients around the globe.
Our hope is that ARinMed will help encourage:
- Medical professionals to both use, and contribute ideas for the use of, AR technology
- Biotech and software and hardware development firms to develop a vast array of products and services that utilize AR technology in the field of medicine
- Medical schools and training facilities to develop hands-on education and training programs using AR technology
- Medical insurance companies to acknowledge that AR technology can help improve the quality of medical services and reduce the risks associated with the practice of medicine
Physicians are known to be early adopters of new tools that have the potential to enhance their practice and help their patients in a faster, more accurate and more practical way. We believe that AR technology is the next great thing that will catapult the medical profession to the next level!
A decade ago, robotic surgery, like the Da Vinci robot, opened the door for new technologies to be embraced quickly. Over the last ten years, technology has become cheaper and more accessible for everyone. Smartphones and tablets are now powerful enough to offer tools that physicians can use in their daily practice, such as online access to index calculators, updatable pharmacological libraries, conferences and training programs and continuously updated data covering a broad spectrum of issues. More recently, wearable technologies have become widely accepted and extremely beneficial to the medical community. While these developments are just a few of the great technological achievements in the world of medicine, Augmented Reality has the potential to enhance virtually every aspect of the practice of medicine as much as, if not more than, many of these other exciting technologies.
Even though the deployment of Augmented Reality technology is in its infancy, we are already seeing it put to many great uses in the medical world. We will be highlighting these developments on ARinMed. Those we’ve already highlighted are fascinating breakthroughs, but we believe they are just the tip of the iceberg.
What else can AR do for healthcare? The possibilities are virtually endless and limited only by one’s imagination. The medical profession will soon be hungry for this technology, clamoring for developers to quickly design and implement AR applications. We hope that ARinMed will be a catalyst for such development.
ARinMed will be sharing our passions for medicine and Augmented Reality by keeping you abreast of all the latest developments in this area as they occur. If we can influence the development of just one idea that helps a doctor save a life, then our efforts to help illuminate this technology will be a success!
We sincerely hope you will join us on the journey to the future of medicine through augmented reality. It’s going to be a fascinating ride!