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 629 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the medical device industry. As a District Sales Manager for Stryker Orthopaedics, Peter was responsible for managing and directing a regional sales force to achieve sales and profit goals within the Rocky Mountain region. Previously, he was the Director of Sales & Marketing for Amp Orthopedics. In this role, Peter was responsible for planning, developing, and leading all sales and marketing initiatives. Peter is a former orthopedic distributor in the Pacific Northwest. He has also worked with DePuy Orthopaedics as well as Zimmer, and held positions in sales, sales training, and sales management. Peter has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, negotiating and P&L management. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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