Virtual reality (VR) is set to make a big impact on the medical industry in the near future. The technology has a wide range of potential applications, helping with treatment of patients and more. Today sees the announcement of a new company, Medical Realities, which looks to capitalise on using both VR head-mounted displays (HMD) such as the Oculus Rift and augmented reality (AR) for medical training. The company has already announced its first product, The Virtual Surgeon.
Announced at the London Wearable Technology Show today, The Virtual Surgeon is the first captured 360 degree recording of a medical operation, intended for use in the UK. It follows a laparoscopic right hemicolectomy procedure as carried about by company co-founder Dr Shafi Ahmed at St Bartholomew’s Hosptial, London. Dr Ahmed is no stranger to using new technologies to enhance medical training; last year saw him perform the first live-stream of an operation using the Google Glass AR HMD, which was watched live by some 13,000 surgical students across 115 countries.
“If you look at other simulation training tools currently out there, we have reached a plateau,” Dr Ahmed said of this announcement. “Despite promises, many medical simulators fail to live up to expectation. Virtual reality offers something different. We want to offer a solution where we can deliver effective teaching and training to anyone, anywhere in the world.
“Today’s trainees are young, innovative and eager to adopt new technologies in the educating workspace,” he concluded. “This means they are able to pick up the skills necessary and even help to develop techniques moving forward.”
Just when and how The Virtual Surgeon will be distributed is yet to be revealed, as is Medical Realities other work in VR. VRFocus will continue to follow the company closely, reporting back with any further updates from it.