Step by step, we have come to understand the differences between Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality, and Augmented Reality (if you still have some questions, we recommend you to go to THIS post). We mostly dedicate ourselves to Mixed and Augmented Reality, since we believe the future in medicine is between these two manifestations of the same technology, but given some interest about it recently, we’d like to explore the other side of Augmented Reality, ‘Diminished Reality’.
Augmented Reality is about adding stuff to our reality, for example, you can have an empty space to augment by adding a set of Minecraft blocks and being able to play with them without having to clean it up later, or perhaps studying for your anatomy final during freshman year and viewing pictures from the Anatomy Atlas in 3D. But, what about when we need to ‘remove’ stuff from our reality? That’s where Diminished Reality begins.
Diminished Reality is the fourth reality. It’s based on the capability of using technology to erase, delete, and make stuff disappear from our reality. This can be done by an observational method, where previous pictures or images are used to create a ‘reality’ where this object didn’t exist. The other method is the ‘brute force’ one, where we use technology, side cameras, and reflection patterns to ‘erase’ it or ‘paint it’ over so that we don’t see it. While it’s a little bit more complicated than adding things to our reality, Diminished Reality is still feasible.
The most commonly used app for these features is Adobe Photoshop, however, we are talking about real-time video at the moment, which is not an easy feature to accomplish. There are some excellent examples of Diminished Reality around the internet, and you can take a look in the video below. The term “Diminished Reality“ is certainly not new, but evidently, this is more difficult to achieve in some ways, and technology is starting to catch up with it. The Diminished Reality technology has already been executed with architecture and engineering, but in the future, it could even be used during a teleconference to hide a messy room.
We see a use for Diminished Reality in medicine in several medical fields. Trauma surgery is a great example of where a physician could hide some unnecessary objects that interfere with the visual field during surgery while making a prostheses implant. Other medical use this technology is with telemedicine, since in order to remain HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) compliant, one cannot share the patient’s face, or maybe the patient does not feel comfortable in sharing through video, and we believe that Diminished Reality could help with bringing some new people on board.
We also think there are more ‘lavish’ uses for Diminished Reality in medicine, such as with plastic surgery. Do you have a mole or a scar you want to remove? Well, with diminished reality you could be standing in front of a screen that serves as a mirror and it will give you an idea of how you would appear without said feature, giving the patient the final trust needed to make a decision about a surgery.
At ARinMED, we are believers of alternate technologies and its reach in medicine, and it’s very probable that we will be talking a lot more about Diminished Reality in the near future.
Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section.