Among the many enthralling and interesting tech advancements that have graced the year 2019, the improvement of VR and the establishment of widely used AR have definitely been up there. This said, many people do not even know what these two are and sometimes even get them mixed up! We’re going to start by making a few clarifications before moving on to how these technologies relate to medicine.
Are AR and VR the same?
The first thing you need to understand is that AR and VR are not the same. According to sources, VR can be described as a “fully immersive digital experience”. AR or augmented reality, on the other hand, is the superimposition of digital media or forms on a real life backdrop or landscape. In other words, enhancement of the real world via the digital.
Now that we’re a little clearer on what these two are, let’s move on to their relevance.
AR/VR Uses and Application in Healthcare and Medicine
AR and VR are both due to be used extensively for a number of purposes including teaching and training as stated in an article published by Forbes. In the world of healthcare and medicine, here is how these two technologies will be applied.
Visualizing the Invisible
There are numerous instances where doctors need to communicate things to their patients which involve taking a look inside the human body. Of course, unless you have x-ray vision, this would be impossible.
The first area AR is extremely helpful is in helping doctors show their patients and juniors things that may otherwise be invisible. This could be helpful for processes such as x-rays and ultrasounds among others.
Children as well as people with specific kinds of anxiety do not do well with painful treatments such as those involving the use of needles. At the same time, a lot of the pain felt is the result of anticipation, memory and visual or auditory stimulation.
VR is great to completely divert the attention of some patients transporting them far away from the treatment being undertaken. This has proven to be an effective way to mitigate pain and discomfort and will likely become the norm in the not so far future.
Gone are the days where medical professionals in training have to practice on real patients! Fresh-off-the-boat doctors and medical professionals who have yet to prove their worth will now be able to spend unlimited amounts of time honing their skills using VR and AR. The best part? It’s all the training with none of the real-life risk!
VR and AR is also being studied and developed to help those suffering from certain sensory disabilities to navigate the world around them a lot more independently!
Some of us still remember a time when VR and AR were hardly concepts that were tangible, yet here we are. Though we’re not sure what other amazing technologies the future holds for us, we do feel that we’re all in for some really pleasant surprises. Adios for now!