Technology has seeped into every aspect of our lives and has made an indelible mark on our society. The entertainment industry has also been privy to this revolution, as technology has brought us some interesting gimmicks in the past few years. So much so that seeing a gamer with boxy goggles making absurd hand gestures or life-size tigers in our living rooms is not even surprising anymore. Yes, we’re talking about the AR-VR technology, the same one that brought us Pokemon Go- the game-changer in the entertainment industry.
But what exactly is AR-VR? Augmented Reality(AR) is essentially an enhanced version of the real world. Virtual Reality(VR) is a computer-generated interactive stimulation of any place-be it a national park or space. Basically, AR alters your world, and VR brings the world to you.
AR-VR sounds all fun and games, doesn’t it? However, this marvellous technology has forged its way from the gaming field to the healthcare industry with some fascinating developments. Read on to know more about the practical applications of AR-VR in healthcare.
Anatomy teaching: Remember what studying anatomy was like? Trying to visualise the structures of organs only through diagrams and charts. Now imagine learning the same but with 3D effects and graphics-just like a movie. Such technology can significantly enhance the learning outcomes of students and save on costs.
Patient education: AR-VR can also be used by physicians or surgeons to effectively explain their patients about their medical conditions.
Surgery stimulation: Doctors can employ VR technology to practise virtual surgeries to reduce operational errors. It can also be helpful for interns/trainees/other medical staff.
AR-VR has also found its way in medical practice in numerous ways, and this phenomenon is bound to grow over the years. It has already carved a space in various therapies and treatments such as
VR Exposure Therapy(VRET): This can be useful for patients with anxieties or phobias or even PTSD. With VRET, you can be safely exposed to your fears and eventually face your fear.
Autism Treatment: AR technology can be used to help children with autism to correctly interpret emotions and build social relationships as non-autistic people do.
Treating phantom limb pain: Using AR technology, the amputees can see virtual limbs(arms/legs) on the screen and move them around. This can provide a certain therapeutic relief to them.
Telehealth: AR-VR content is also being streamed to consumers via telehealth and telemedicine communications.
The scenery of healthcare is constantly changing and evolving around us. Technology is blending perfectly into healthcare, giving rise to countless advancements. I think it is safe to say that technology is here to stay. The future of healthcare is here already. Let us brace for it.
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2. Google AR & VR | Home. Accessed from https://arvr.google.com/ Accessed on 16th March 2021.
3. How Virtual Reality is Used in Medicine Accessed from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/virtual-reality-gaining-traction-in-healthcare Accessed on 16th March 2021.
4. Augmented Reality as a Telemedicine Platform for Remote Procedural Training,Sensors 2017, 17(10);2294