The field of augmented reality (AR) technology is rapidly expanding. In July, the launch of the AR smartphone game Pokémon Go put this technology into the hands of ordinary people. And yet, it exists beyond the realm of gaming with exciting new applications that possess the ability to improve day-to-day life.

One area experiencing improvements with AR innovation is healthcare.

For years, London-based company Touch Surgery has developed 2D virtual programs to train surgeons on various procedures. These programs, which mimic various surgical operations, are helpful, but the two-dimensional tapping and swiping on smart phone and tablet screens could never approach the skill demanded in an actual surgery.

Now, the company is utilizing augmented reality to create a more immersive surgery training experience. With the help of the HoloLens and DARQUI augmented reality headsets, new Touch Surgery programs are able to bring surgery simulations into the operating room. When using these new programs, surgeons can practice using physical instruments on a virtual patient. This allows the surgeon a simple and affordable way to become familiar with and practice with tools used during an operation. Moreover, the new AR programs can be used to create a virtual overlay over a real patient that helps guide a surgeon through a complex operation.

Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality glasses, free image

Microsoft HoloLens

While the idea of one’s surgeon being only partially tuned in to reality is unsettling to many, augmented reality technology is now here to stay as an innovative, but important part of healthcare.

Touch Surgery’s augmented reality innovations were on display at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show.

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Kira Hewitt

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