Virtual Reality has advanced rapidly since the 1950’s, from Morton Heilig’s prototype “Sensorama” to now, Jon and Kandy Brouchoud’s “Acadicus”. Virtual Reality has been quickly rising in popularity in the medical field. VR developers have created experiences that would help medical students have hands on experience on and off campus.

View-Master, a stereoscopic visual simulator, was introduced in 1939

Medical students usually practice on cadavers, mannequins, training software, and other hands-on devices. Now, with VR, they can practice common surgeries multiple times and get real time feedback.

By using virtual reality, students can face real-life situations of treating trauma victims in the emergency room. Students can learn how to behave in certain stressful situations and learn to empathize with patients through VR experiences.

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More difficult surgeries, like removing cancerous tumors, was recoded in 2014 with Shafi Ahmed.

Shafi Ahmed performed an operation to remove cancer by broadcasting the course of the operation in Google Glass for 13 000 students. Such an experiment let the audience observe the whole process with their own eyes in real time and even ask this doctor questions.

In May of 2017, Virtual Reality hit headline news when VR technology relieved a patient’s phantom limb pain. The test devised by researchers at Aalborg University shows that VR technology can trick the amputee’s brain into thinking that it is still in control of a missing limb.

How?

Patients have to put on VR goggles and a glove. At the same time, small electrodes are placed on the residual limb, known as the stump.
The amputee plays a number of different VR games that involve doing the same thing with both hands such as grabbing a pole that has to be twisted into different shapes or pushing different virtual buttons.
In the virtual reality it feels exactly as if you were using both hands.

AMAZING!

Another company called “Arch Virtual” develops VR and AR applications for training, enterprise and education.

There are also companies that develop experiences to help people with their phobias, such as heights, spiders, social phobia, and more.

“C2Care” is one such company!

“It’s easy to use for both practitioner and patient, C2Phobia offers optimal sensory stimulation that immerses the user in a reality comparable to the anxiety-provoking situations they encounter every day.
From your C2Services interface, you can access several functions and environments for the treatment of different phobias.
Functions include increasing or reducing the density of the crowd, or controlling the avatars’ emotions and how often they look at the user.
You can also interact directly in virtuo with your patients, as an avatar who simulates a conversation.”
Several different environments offered by C2Care to treat certain phobias

Virtual and Augmented Reality are headed in a very positive direction, in terms of their results in the medical field. It has increasingly been adopted in medical schools and hospitals and have produced high positive results.

Results show that virtual reality is effective in reducing anxiety and depression-related symptoms and improving quality of life
- Rus-Calafell et al. (2016)

Sources

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