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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

Virtual Reality Gets Real in the Operating Room


Trying out a virtual reality application.

Virtual reality can provide doctors with a more lifelike view of the work necessary in upcoming surgeries, as opposed to merely reviewing MRIs and CAT scans.

Credit: Johnson & Johnson

A growing number of hospitals and medical centers are embracing virtual reality (VR) technology, with the goal of providing better, faster training for resident doctors and surgeons.

Stanford University students learn anatomy by walking around a lifelike digital hologram of a lung, and transport themselves inside a heart to see the valves and pumping blood.

VR technology helps students learn faster, which is especially important in countries like China and India, where a combined 6 million new physicians will be needed by next year.

The technology may be used either as a fully immersive experience, in which users see only a computer-generated environment, or as a part of mixed reality, in which three-dimensional images are projected onto the physical world.

The University of Washington in Seattle’s Richard Satava said VR “gives us a way to judge whether the medical student has learned what they are supposed to learn.”

From Fortune
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