Doctors Could See Inside Patients Without Surgery With Augmented Reality

When a patient has a serious internal problem, the best way for doctors to get a good idea of what’s happening is often to see for themselves, though that’s certainly not to say cutting someone open is either easy, or something doctors actually want to have to do. New technology is always being worked on to streamline the complex and time intensive work doctors have to do, and next augmented reality (AR) might be the way for doctors to diagnose problems and plan surgery with patients well in advance of putting them under the knife.

Here on VRFocus we love seeing virtual reality (VR) and AR being used to advance the medical field. Health is incredibly important subject, which is why so many VR and AR companies and so eager to get involved in the space. Whether it’s therapeutic software from Penumbra or Shaftesbury VR, or medical training equipment and software, the future of health seems linked to these technologies.

The new AR software is somewhat similar to some medical imaging software we’ve seen, but this projects a patient’s internals directly onto them, allowing the patient to move around in 3D space and rotate, so doctor can get an accurate image of exactly where bones and organs are located, and where issues are arising.

The University of Alberta reports that the new system, ProjectDR, allows CT scans and MRI data to be displayed directly onto the body. Computing science graduate student and developer of the project, Ian Watts, has said; “We wanted to create a system that would show clinicians a patient’s internal anatomy within the context of the body.”

Watts developed the tech with his peer Michael Fiest. Watts continued; “There are lots of applications for this technology, including in teaching, physiotherapy, laparoscopic surgery and even surgical planning.”

The team at the University intend to test the technology in an operating room and in surgical simulations to see how it works in a real world environment. We’ll report on their findings and the future of the technology as we hear it, so make sure to keep reading VRFocus.