Augmented Reality technology is experiencing a lot of popularity across several industry segments, most notably; medicine, retail, gaming and automotive. It might seem like the technology was developed only a couple of years ago but in fact, the early prototypes were made as early as the 1960s.
Let’s look at a few benefits of AR in the current world and it has gained so much exposure in recent years.
AR technology projects digital information or simulations on top of an existing environment. It allows users to visualize and interact with digital objects to create an immersive and engaging experience unlike any other. In fact, AR technology is a combination of Virtual Reality (VR) superimposed on the real-world environment. This virtual content experienced by the user can be in the form of sound or digital imagery using videos or 3D models.
AR technology uses a network of sensors, computer components, cameras and a viewing device that are worn by the user and when switched on, layers the digital environment on top of the one the user is viewing in real-time.
Opportunities that AR Provides in Health Care
AR is creating new opportunities for its application in the healthcare industry. New innovations using the technology will enable doctors and surgeons to gain the ability to more accurately perform diagnoses and surgeries on patients. It will provide them with real-time data regarding the patient’s medical information and condition more precisely and quicker than they had previously through traditional methods.
Augmented Reality is of tremendous value to the field of medicine and medical education as well. It will allow both students and physicians to visualize certain medical scenarios and health issues and guide them through the steps to properly manage and deal with them. These applications are just the beginning of what AR can bring to the medical and healthcare industry.
Augmented Reality in Healthcare
Data accessing technologies have developed and advanced significantly in the past few years and the next step in improving healthcare is providing real-time, life-saving patient information to medical professionals that can be used during complicated or even simple procedures to improve accuracy and reduce human errors.
Using AR, surgeons can study a patient’s anatomy more accurately by entering CT scans and MRI-related data using an AR headset and even overlay a part of the patient’s anatomy on top of their body prior to performing surgery.
This will enable surgeons to visualize bones, internal organs, muscles without the need for invasive cuts to open the body. As a result, they can deduce exactly where to make incisions and injections. The technology can even be used by paramedics to display vital life-saving information about the patient in the case of a medical emergency.
Through AR, surgeons will have the opportunity to perform more accurate surgeries that put relatively less strain and risk on the patient’s health condition as well as saving time in the case of medical emergencies. Instead of spending time locating a patient’s medical records, surgeons will have all the relevant information displayed on their AR screens within a few seconds. Thus, allowing for better medical guidance and supervision.
AR glasses are already being used in several medical institutions during reconstructive surgery of patients suffering from severe injuries. Previously, surgeons used handheld scanners to locate major blood vessels near the wound or trauma and now using these AR headsets, surgeons can easily identify these blood vessels by displaying them on top of the patient’s body in the form of a 3D virtual image.
AR enables doctors to easily determine the cause of a patient’s symptoms and diagnose them accordingly in a more efficient way. At times, patients struggle to explain exactly what their symptoms are to doctors and the technology will allow them and doctors to get a clearer image of what they are suffering from.
Several medical colleges have already implemented AR in their curriculum to provide a hands-on learning experience for their students. Using an AR training program, doctors can practice and improve their skills on anything and everything they might face in a real-life medical situation.
AR has the potential to speed up and enhance the medical process, driving up accuracy and precision in several of its medical processes. But, it must be noted that we are still in the early stages of the adoption of AR in the medical field and exactly how valuable it is to surgeons and other medical professionals. However, the benefits that we are already seeing in the fields of medical education and diagnosis have been nothing short of revolutionary and we can expect the technology to be a prominent element in both treatment and diagnosis in the near future.