Doctors Can Now Use Augmented Reality to Peek Under a Patient’s Skin

Compared to the very first X-ray, which was taken well over a century ago, the medical imaging technology in use today is highly impressive. We can take clear pictures of the body’s internal organs, structures, and systems, and those images can help doctors make diagnoses or recommend treatments without having to pick up a scalpel.

More recent advances in medical imaging technology enable us to capture not only still images but moving ones, too. These allow doctors to see more than just a static moment in time; they can see the organs and systems in action.

Now, researchers at the University of Alberta are using augmented reality (AR) to one-up those traditional scans.

With ProjectDR, a doctor can bring up a patient’s medical imagery (such as a CT scan, for instance) and project it directly onto the patient’s body. This allows the physician to look at the scans within the context of the patient’s unique body.

ProjectDR is also equipped with motion-tracking capabilities. Once the scan is displayed on the outside of the body, the tech uses infrared cameras and markers placed on the patient’s body to make minor adjustments as the person moves around. This keeps the scans aligned with the underlying anatomy.


The project was developed by two graduate students, Ian Watts and Michael Fiest. As Watts explained in the university’s press release, the project’s marriage of AR and medicine has many potential applications, including in “teaching, physiotherapy, laparoscopic surgery, and even surgical planning.”

By Abby Norman | Futurism

Image Credit: Adobe Stock


About Peter Coffaro 658 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the orthopedic industry. Recognized by and the World Journal of Orthopedics as one of the top medical sales influencers in the industry; he has 10 years of combined sales management experience and has held positions as a Director, General Manager, Distributor and Vice President. Peter has worked for some of the top orthopedic companies in the world - Zimmer, DePuy and Stryker. He is also the founder of OrthoFeed: a popular blog that covers digital orthopedic news and emerging medical technologies. Peter is a three-time Hall of Fame award winner at Johnson and Johnson and has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, digital marketing and professional education. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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