Augmented reality, the technology behind this summer’s popular game app, Pokémon GO, and virtual reality – popularized by the Oculus Rift gaming headset – are poised to reshape patient therapy and medical training, some say.
“We believe AR/VR has the power to revolutionize how we deliver and approach healthcare and medicine,” said Rodwin Pabello, director of product development at San Francisco-based software developer, Viscira.
“It’s already impacting the way medical professionals are training and physicians diagnose and treat patients,” Pabello added. “There are many different uses for the technology within healthcare from application in operating rooms to educational fun and games and that’s just scratching the surface.”
AR overlays views of the physical world with fabricated images that engage users, while VR uses software to simulate images, sounds and sensations to isolate them.
Both technologies create an environment well-suited for immersion or exposure-based therapy to treat fear and anxiety, said Skip Rizzo, director of medical virtual reality at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies in Playa Vista, California.