At the start of 2014 many talked about how virtual reality (VR) technology could go beyond videogames to improve movies, education and healthcare. Towards the end of the year creators are finally starting to act upon this potential. Some of the first VR films and educational tools have been revealed over the past few months and now a new application looks to kick start the use of the technology for doctors and surgeons. That application is IMHOTEP, a unique new system developed by Micha Pfeiffer.
IMHOTEP is best described by its developer as an ‘operation planning and teaching system’ that surgeons can use as a means to prepare for complex procedures removing tumours. The software takes segmented CT or MRI scans of any given patients’ organs and then presents the relevant organ as a 3D image that users can inspect using the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD). The idea is to give the surgeon as much information as possible ahead of the operation in order to minimise risk as it is carried out.
Those interested can take a look at IMHOTEP now via a sample available through the official Oculus VR Share, a software portal for VR experiences. The title is compatible with PCs and the Oculus Rift’s second development kit (DK2). It is the result of a collaboration between KIT, Institute for Anthropomatics and Robotics and Heidelberg University Hospital. It’s a promising first look at how VR can not just revolutionise entertainment and how it’s consumed but also the general well-being of humans. Hopefully as the technology grows in popularity, systems such as IMHOTEP will become much more prevalent.
VRFocus will continue to follow any and all applications of VR, reporting back with any further updates.