Virtual Reality or VR is a computer-simulated environment in which we can have the feeling as being in a digital, virtual world experiencing smell, sound, taste, and visuals. VR has been mentioned in many sci-fi masterpieces such as the Necromancer by Gibson, but technology behind that only came to a point where it can become reality now. Therefore I decided to describe some medical implications of virtual reality in the newest video of The Medical Futurist Youtube Channel.
I recently started discovering the options of virtual reality with the Google Cardboard. Putting my own smartphone with the right application into a cardboard can give the feeling of being in a virtual world. My favorite apps so far are Roller Coaster VR, Cmoar Roller Coaster VR, and Solar System VR. I should start filming the first reaction of people who give it a try.
Cardboard is just the very first step. Devices such as Oculus Rift acquired by Facebook, Sony’s Morpheus or Magic Leap will make the difference in the coming years. Check how Magic Leap could change the world around ourselves. Let’s see how virtual reality could change the healthcare experience with ever-improving technologies.
- Imagine that we could use virtual reality for training surgeons. They could be inside the human body based on the patient’s radiology images discovering all the options before opening up the patient during an operation.
- We could use virtual reality for patients to experience the hospital feeling even before going to the hospital. They could see how a procedure takes place, how much time it takes, what’s going to happen to them by getting a treatment or procedure.
- We could use that for psychology treatments, for people with addictions to show them different kinds of worlds. One with being addicted to something, and one with not being addicted any more showing them the real differences in life and how it could change if they found a solution for that addiction. The same is used in PTSD or fighting phobias.
- Imagine that we could use it for stress relief letting people travel to countries around the world and experiencing the real world through virtual reality.
- We could train people for emergency and disaster situations without risking anybody’s life.
- Virtual rehabilitation performed at the patient’s home for anxieties, attention deficits or amnesia. The list of conditions in which VR could be helpful is incredibly long.
- 360 immersive Virtual Reality arrived to the Cathlab chaning Medical Education.
- If there is no available real cadaver to practice surgery on, VR can help.
- A new way for motivating people for doing exercises could be merging VR with video games. See this video:
When for the first time I showed Google Cardboard to my 7 years old niece and she checked that out, she asked me, why would people want real-life experience any more when they can have this. So we will face really serious ethical questions in the coming years, but again virtual reality with the devices coming to the market very soon has the potentials to change the whole healthcare experience.
Read more about the future of virtual reality in my new book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine!