„Augmented Reality is going to be the next big thing!“ – Even though, I always believed in this or comparable claims since I started developing and experimenting with AR, I also noted that this idea has been around for many years but always remained a topic at very specialized conferences. Mainly technical problems such as too heavy head worn devices, narrow field of views, low image resolutions, insufficient tracking accuracy and robustness lead into difficulties to enter the real consumer worlds.
However, things are about to change! Google Glass was one of those first hints that also the big players believe and invest in the combination of real and virtual worlds. Although the first version of Google Glass is maybe not the very best hardware solution to make the difference and convince non-believers about the potentials of Augmented Reality, one could imagine that there is more going on behind the scenes and the next version of Google Glass might resolve all doubts.
Microsoft came up with the Kinect sensor, which allowed to combine tracking information with video data to create AR scenes. Among other ideas how to use this sensor, peoples started developing AR mirror interfaces for multiple applications. The HoloLens now clearly manifests visions and strategies of Microsoft all directing towards AR applications.
Some time ago Facebook bought Oculus Rift, a Virtual Reality interface. Zuckerberg said: “At this point we feel we’re in a position where we can start focusing on what platforms will come next to enable even more useful, entertaining and personal experiences.” It did not take too long until people started converting Oculus Rift into an AR interface.
And finally Apple bought Metaio, a German Augmented Realty company, and showed their interest and believe.
Having all this big companies on board believing in the idea of Augmented Reality will lead into exciting solutions for all those application fields that had been identified decades ago. I’m looking forward to report on more exiting AR applications for health care scenarios!
The Case Western Reserve, Cleveland Clinic has started a collaboration with Microsoft to use HoloLens for enhancing the education of anatomy.With HoloLens, Radiology Professor Mark Griswold explaines, “you see it truly in 3D. You can take parts in and out. You can turn it around. You can see the blood pumping—the entire system.”
The NextMed / MMVR22 / Medicine Meets Virtual Reality conference will take place in April 7 – 9, 2016 at Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel in Los Angeles, California. See also http://www.NextMed.com
The 22nd edition of this event again addresses “researchers committed to intelligent healthcare—engineers, physicians, scientists, educators, students, industry, military, and futurists—with its creative mix of unorthodox thinking and validated investigation.”
Proposals for presentations can be submitted until October 5, 2015 on the following topics:
- Medical simulation and modeling
- Data visualization and fusion
- Virtual and augmented reality
- Imaging devices and methods
- Robotics, haptics, sensors
- Human-computer interfaces
- Data and decision networks, AI, mobile health
- Wearable and implantable electronics
- Projection systems
- Learning and technology
- Simulator design and validation
- Physical and mental rehabilitation tools
- Serious games
- Surgical registration and navigation
- Peri-operative guidance
- Remote and battlefield care
- Patient and public health monitoring and education
Recently, I have installed the medicalAR Mirror (one of my side projects, see also medicalar.com), equipped with the App Thorax Viewer at the Anatomical Museum of the University of Basel, Switzerland. With the help of hand gestures, the installation allows visitors of the museeum to interactively visualize the anatomy of the upper body including muscles, skeleton and major organs.
The Augmented Reality Software „medicalAR Mirror“ generates a digital mirror image of the user simulating the view into the own body onto the anatomy. It allows to intuitively and interactively transfer knowledge about the topology of organs, the stabilizing function of muscles and skeleton and much more.
Future applications of the „medicalAR Mirror“ address the communication among physicians and patients in the doctor’s offices. The personalized and intuitive presentation of complex medical information is supposed to support joint decision making on the most appropriate therapy as well as positively changing individual lifestyles and avoiding unhealthy habits and behaviors such as smoking.
The software is able to augment the view into the body with various types of data. At the moment, this includes generic 3D datasets of a standard anatomy as well as patient specific data acquired from medical imaging modalities such as CT or MRI.