After years of promise, virtual reality headsets such as Oculus Rift are finally making their way into the hands of consumers. With this, a world enhanced by virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR, respectively) is becoming an actual reality.
While most of its consumer appeal is dominated by entertainment and gaming, the ability of VR and AR to replace and enhance the user’s physical environment has countless applications in healthcare.
By definition, VR completely replaces your physical setting with a manufactured 3D environment. Because this environment is easily controlled, VR is ideal for immersive therapies, such as social adaptation for young adults with autism, pain management, amblyopia (lazy eye) therapy, and the treatment of PTSD.
AR, on the other hand, augments the “real world” with computer-generated sounds, videos, graphics, or other sensory data. (Think: realistic, interactive planning of surgical operations before patients are at risk, or audible alerts when looking at multiple medications that have harmful interactions.) This has the ability to transform medical education, diagnosis, and treatments, as AR offers supplementary information without losing the user’s sense of place.
Although the use cases of VR/AR in healthcare are promising, as a recent TechCrunch article explains, the mainstream implementation of these technologies will lag if there’s no content to experience.
The hangup? Developing 3D content for VR and AR can be time-consuming and costly.
Fortunately, a thorough understanding of human anatomy is at the heart of all healthcare experiences. By leveraging a 3D platform that provides a customizable anatomical foundation, companies can easily publish unique experiences and expedite the implementation of VR/AR into the health sector.
The BioDigital Human Platform uses interactive 3D to transform medical education and clinical training environments for students and clinicians across the world.