Source: XR experts see health care as the killer app for VR, AR, MR … or whatever you call it – GeekWire. Experts have settled on extended reality, or XR, as the catch-all term for virtual, augmented and mixed reality. And they’re settling on health care as a promising frontier for XR.
“I believe health care is going to drive the mass adoption of XR,” Vinay Narayan, vice president of platform strategy and developer community at HTC Vive, said at XR Day, an event presented by the University of Washington’s Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering.
Why does Narayan believe that? He pointed out that health-care applications tend to be enterprise-level applications in a “high-friction” environment, where employees have to deal with loads of data as they make decisions. Health care is also an industry that touches everyone, amounting to $3.5 trillion in annual spending.
Narayan said that’s an attractive frontier for technologies like XR, which can streamline operations and bring about better outcomes.
As an example, he pointed to the University of California at San Francisco, which is using HTC Vive’s VR system to teach medical students how to operate on virtual-reality patients.
Surgeons could soon be using XR to operate on real-reality patients as well. For example, Microsoft’s HoloLens team has been working with Philips on an image-guided therapy platform called Azurion. The mixed-reality system matches up a patient’s flesh-and-blood anatomy with a computer-generated model that uses X-ray and ultrasound imaging to guide surgeons through medical procedures.
The Food and Drug Administration has cleared HoloLens-based medical systems for use in pre-operative surgical planning, and HoloLens also figures in a Cleveland clinical trial aimed at guiding surgeons through procedures to treat tumors.
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