With augmented reality (AR) headgear becoming more and more popular these days, researchers are now looking for ways to use the technology for training applications such as in the field of medicine.
Touch Surgery, a tech company based in the United Kingdom, has developed 200 programs that can be used to train surgeons on various surgical procedures using smartphones and tablets. Its latest offering makes use of HoloLens and DAQRI wearable devices to provide a deeply immersive training experience.
Augmented Reality Training
Touch Surgery revealed its AR training program at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Its goal is to make training for surgical procedures more accessible and affordable for doctors.
Dr. Jean Nehme, CEO of Touch Surgery, said they believe in teaming up with surgeons to develop the best in class procedures to help make sure that surgeries are safer for patients all over the world.
The company has created training programs delivered through mobile devices so far, but it also has programs for AR platforms already lined up for 2017.
By offering surgery simulations through augmented reality, Touch Surgery is moving away from the typical tap-and-swipe training using smartphones and tablets to a more immersive experience using AR headgear.
This makes it possible for surgeons to train on various procedures using an overlay of a digital patient. They can practice how to pick up surgical instruments and find out how they would react to being used during an operation.
Doctors can also use augmented reality devices to help guide them through a particularly difficult surgery. They can wear AR headgear and receive instructions on how to carry out a complex procedure in real time to avoid making mistakes.
Despite its seemingly futuristic appeal, some observers have expressed doubts about employing augmented reality technology during live operations. Patients might get the impression that their surgeons might not know what they're doing if they rely on an AR headgear to walk them through a procedure.
For its part, Touch Surgery boasts of using cloud-based data analytics systems that comply with the standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to make sure that surgeons get detailed training and support on different clinical procedures.
Its simulations have helped the company become the first of its kind to receive validation for mobile surgical training in the industry.
Touch Surgery also works with doctors from leading medical institutions, such as Harvard Medical School, Stanford University, Imperial College London, and Johns Hopkins, to develop their training programs.
The concept of using augmented reality in surgical training may still be in its infancy, but advocates hope that it would translate to quicker and safer procedures in the future.
Other Applications For AR Technology
AR training via HoloLens has already been tested in other fields aside from medicine. NASA has been developing ways to use the technology to provide training for astronauts onboard the International Space Station.
HoloLens were also used to allow some customers at Lowe's Home Improvement stores in different parts of the country to come up with their own kitchen setups through an augmented reality program.