In my new book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine coming out this August, I’ll feature plenty of analyses of the potential dangers we will all have to face due to new technologies. There will be new diseases because of the excessive use of virtual reality applications and it will be a real challenge to persuade people not to live an entirely virtual life.
A new article on Techcrunch, Immersive Infections, features some of these threats with a focus on augmented and virtual reality. It’s worth running over the examples it comes up with in order to prepare for the threats of the next few years.
One of the key components of Augmented Reality (AR) tech is its ability to facilitate interaction with the real world in new ways. This means that in order to provide digital content overlayed on the real world, these devices require the use of cameras.
A camera attached to an AR device that is attached to you can be a very dangerous thing. Consider if you will, malware that can use said camera to take pictures during a user’s most private times. These instances are never meant to be seen by the public, but by using the connections to social media these devices will no doubt have available, a cyber criminal can post these pictures onto the user’s social media whenever they want. Of course the most likely scenario would be if the user refused to pay a ransom.
A clinic in Germany started experimenting with an application using augmented reality on iPads in the OR. During operations, surgeons can see through anatomical structures such as blood vessels in the liver without opening organs therefore they can perform more precise excisions.
A CT scan is performed before the surgery and the imaged vessels are identified within software, all of which is then transferred to the iPad. During the procedure the surgeon can navigate the imaged liver to see where the vessels are, and if the camera is turned on and pointed at the exposed liver the app automatically superimposes the vessel structure of the organ onto the live picture. Notably, the app is not simply a concept, but was already tested successfully during a liver tumor removal at Asklepios Klinik Barmbek in Hamburg.
Years ago, I wrote about an experiment of similar kind performed at the Computer Assisted Medical Procedures Institute at the Technische Universitat München.
The technology is now there, we just have to put evidence behind using it in practice. Exciting times ahead!
A few weeks ago, I was a keynote speaker at the Games for Health conference in Amsterdam. I talked about social games, crowdsourcing in medicine and science and also about the importance of including health gaming in medical education. I have to say I had a great time there, saw many promising innovations and as a lover of video games, I tried many projects and gadgets myself.
Projects and ideas I came across there:
Figurerunning: draw figures on the map when running by using their smartphone application.
Use your bike and run or walk around in the virtual world.
Medsim: a birth simulation.
I’m pretty sure I’ll be at Games for Health 2012 as well! See you there!
A few weeks ago, I talked about how the first Hungarian virtual cardiology consultation would be organized by Webicina.com and finally it turned out to be a really successful event. We hope to organize even more similar events in many topics!
On the 29th of September, between 16:00 and 18:00 Central European Time, two cardiologists answered the questions of patients in the virtual world of Visuland.com. They were able to enter the virtual realm through this link. Basically we wanted to give readers and patients a chance to ask questions, meet specialists, meet fellow patients in a 3D environment that is very easy to handle.
As I mentioned before, I manage the social media presence of the biggest and most popular Hungarian Health portal, HáziPatika.com, and we have been working hard on a project that is just about to launch. On the 29th of September, between 16:00 and 18:00 Central European Time, two cardiologists will answer the questions of patients in the virtual world of Visuland.com. They will be able to enter the virtual realm through this link. Basically we wanted to give readers and patients a chance to ask questions, meet specialists, meet fellow patients in a 3D environment that is very easy to handle. It might create a brand new feeling of belonging to a community where you can do everything except a real handshake. I hope they will like it!
A video about Visuland.com:
A video about how you can enter the virtual world:
I will certainly write here about the experience and the whole event. Stay tuned for more!
I did an interview with a medical professional (virtual name is Vera Zhaoying) who has been organizing medical events for years in Second Life.
- When and why did you start organizing medical events in Second Life?
That is I think 4,5 years ago that I spoke for AMMC (the Ann Myers Medical Center), I was still a student and in real life I was not happy to talk in public. During that time Ann (founder of the AMMC) still taught in AMMC. When I proposed a subject, Ann said OK and you go do it yourself. Looked it up on the website. That was the 10th of September, 2007 and the topic was spinal cord injuries. I think during 2008 I began to organize meetings on a regular bases and created the AMMC intern group. By that time Dr Ann began to have more serious health problems and had asked me to do this, and i did :-)
- What do you do in real life and do your colleagues know about your online activities?
What I do in real life, actually I think it is better to say what my roles are. First I am me and that can be tricky enough (joking) and have been an MD sinch March 2010 MD (proud proud proud). Now I’m a resident of Internal medicine and due to a trial already also in Oncology.
My online activities, some do know it and are interested and see the potentials, some think it is just a game and I should not waste my time on it. Surprisingly enough the more enthousiast collegues are those a bit older/old. I had not expected that, the younger ones are way more familiar with new technology and applications and mostly they don’t see it as a possible addition.
- What about the Ann Myers Medical Center? Are there any live events these days?
Sadly currently not, AMMC does not have land and believe me I did try to find it, so I hope I win state lottery soon and simply buy a SIM :-)
What is now under development is a mobile solution, I asked a builder to create a truck and trailer. The trailer is the key part, it has a double that swings open in an angle of 90 degrees showing the interior. The first trailer will be about breast awareness. I wait with other plans till this one is completed.
I'm attending a simulation at the Ann Myers Medical Center
- What are your plans for the near future?
Well actually I miss a house in Second Life to call home and have a small office in it. So I probably go rent one. Other plans are 3 extra trailers for several topics: Diabetes is one and for the more near future a ship. That might sound funny but I don’t see AMMC getting land anytime soon, in order not to lose the momentum, I thought of the ship, it must have a place for meetings but also instead of trailers have containers with the option I just described, the containers can be used in for instance mobile hospital. Bit like medicine sans frontiere, I have to plan that in more details.
Many thanks for the answers and I wish you luck with your virtual medical education projects!