Tech billionaire Peter Thiel famously said, “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.” The comment obviously refers to how technological promises often fall short of expectations. While there are plenty of companies building flying cars (or, as we call them, helicopters), his point is a valid one. Take the example of the behemoth startup Magic Leap, which teased us for years with awesome-looking videos of whales doing Seaworld tricks in your living room. Instead, we got some vague-looking steampunk glasses that you can use to play Angry Birds in your living room. That doesn’t mean augmented reality (AR) is a failed technology. Far from it. AR is being used today in real-world applications, perhaps none more exciting than surgery.
We first started documenting this trend of augmented reality in healthcare settings a couple of years ago with companies like Augmedix, a startup out of San Francisco that has now raised $63 million for its AR platform that pairs up with Google Glass. Augmedix provides physicians a hands-free way of pulling up patient data and recording medical notes without the need of a computer. The company claims its AR platform helps save doctors about two hours a day, time they can spend on more worthy malpractice pursuits. Since then, we’ve done some deep dives into how virtual reality is also being used in healthcare. We decided it was time to revisit the topic with AR and look at how startups are applying the technology for surgery.
Image Credit: Augmedics