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How Metaverse could play a role in overhauling healthcare

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Big tech companies like Meta and Microsoft have pointed out how the Metaverse could revolutionize the world. While it remains to be seen how the Metaverse will evolve, a few companies are already using some essential components that will ultimately make up the Metaverse. Health and medicine are among these industries.

The healthcare industry has now started to use components such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) in software and hardware to improve the proficiency of medical devices and expanding the reach of medical care, according to a CNBC report. Simply put, the Metaverse will be an extension of the VR, AR, and Mixed Reality (MR) technologies we use today.

The metaverse or virtual universe is a set of interconnected online spaces where one can indulge in activities such as gambling, shopping and even attend events via virtual avatars. It is an amalgamation of different technologies like VR, AR, MR, AI and digital currencies.

According to the report, the World Health Organization is using AR to train COVID-19 first responders via smartphones while psychiatrists use VR technology to treat post-traumatic stress in veterans, and medical schools are using technology for training.

AR in the global healthcare market is expected to reach $ 1.42 billion in 2021 and $ 4.15 billion by 2025, from $ 1.06 billion in 2020, Globenewswire reported, citing a study by The Business Research Company. Here’s a quick look at various other components of the Metaverse that could gradually change healthcare as we know it.

Meta’s Oculus

The Meta platform acquired the Oculus virtual reality (VR) headset in 2014. Since then, Oculus has had multiple collaborations with the healthcare industry. One of the most important collaborations of recent times has been with Nexus Studios and the WHO Academy. Meta’s R&D incubator has designed a mobile app that will allow healthcare workers to learn more about the fight against COVID-19. A training course involves the RA to simulate the proper techniques and sequence for putting on and taking off personal protective equipment. The app is available in seven languages.

Oculus technology is also used at the University of Connecticut Medical Center to train residents in orthopedic surgery. The university has partnered with PrecisionOS, a Canadian medical software company that offers virtual reality training and educational modules in orthopedics. Oculus headsets allow residents to view a range of surgical procedures in 3D, a harmless environment where they can practice their skills.

Microsoft HoloLens

Microsoft introduced the HoloLens smart glasses in 2016. One of the early users of the glasses was Stryker, a medical technology company in Michigan. In 2017, she started using the AR device to improve the operating room design process of hospitals / surgery centers. With improvements in HoloLens 2, Stryker engineers are now able to create shared operating theaters using holograms.

Zimmer Biomet, an Indiana-based medical device company, recently unveiled its OptiVu Mixed Reality Solutions platform. The platform uses the HoloLens device and three specific applications. The first application uses MRI in the manufacture of surgical tools. The second collects and stores data to track patient progress before and after surgery, and the third allows healthcare professionals to share an MRI experience with patients before a procedure.

Microsoft’s network

In March, Microsoft unveiled Mesh, a mixed reality (MR) platform powered by Azure cloud services. Azure allows users to participate in 3D holographic experiences on various devices and from different geographic locations. In Microsoft’s blog post on Mesh, he pictured medical students learning human anatomy using a holographic model of a cadaver.

Use of other VR and AR technologies in medicine

The main types of AR in healthcare are the hardware and software to perform tasks such as surgeries and for effective diagnosis using technologies such as smart glasses. The devices include headsets, wearable devices, wearable devices, vision-based devices, mobile devices, among others.

Using AR in surgeries allows surgeons to view a patient’s anatomy side-by-side with their MRI and CT scan data.

At the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, for example, instructors used AR, VR, and MR to train first responders to treat trauma patients who have had a stroke, heart attack. or a gunshot wound. Students perform vital heart procedures on a realistic mannequin that realistically simulates almost any heart disease while wearing VR headsets.

In fact, Johns Hopkins neurosurgeons performed the institution’s first AR surgeries on living patients in June wearing helmets made by the Israeli company Augmedics. “It’s like having a GPS navigator in front of your eyes,” Timothy Witham, director of the Johns Hopkins Neurosurgery Spinal Fusion Laboratory, told CNBC.

First publication: STI


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