VR to the Rescue Posted Jul 9, 2017 by Ruchika Sharma

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13 - VR Surgery

Virtual reality or VR as it is more popularly known as is the latest buzzword to have caught up in the tech world. There is another ‘*R’ also doing the rounds called as AR which is basically augmented reality. The tech world with its addiction to such acronyms can sometimes lead to the general public being completely unaware of the basis of the tech but just keep using it in their day to day life. Maybe that’s the bane of us not bothering to find out the details of the product we use and just go with its marketing gimmickry.

Well AR or augmented reality for a simple reference is Snapchat & Pokemon Go whereas VR or virtual reality is the environment that is being developed by various tech houses such as the Oculus Rift. The primary difference between the two is the component of real reality, in AR one can still see the real world beyond the virtual world whereas in VR we are still surrounded by everything digital i.e. even the hand one holds up in front of the begoggled face is virtual.  

VR is fast catching up the public domain as a tool to make our experiences as immersive as never thought before. The most prominent example of VR would be the Facebook Inc owned Oculus Rift VR headset. The latest that Oculus has achieved is to create a never before thought of simulation to train medical students.

The Project – Oculus VR for Good Initiative

Oculus along with the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles has managed to create a set of very immersive experiences that put the young medical students to test them or even to train them to react to a life or death kind of situation.

Its full potential is yet to be realized but just going with the hindrances to such pieces of training one can see the potential that it holds. Surgery is a complicated thing to train for, not only because of the level of technical proficiency necessary to actually perform the surgery, but the emotional fortitude to do so under the demand of being aware of your precision in your performance could even cost the life of the child on the table.

Present Scenario

At present much of surgery training is done using mannequins or cadavers (which with the growth of medical science has started to become a little hard to come by, this is actually good as we are helping people but in terms of surgery training its hampering progress). The mannequins that are used, every effort is made to make it as lifelike an experience as possible but it’s still not reality, it is still detached from the emotional immediacy of the situation.

Future Prospects

The future of VR outside of entertainment looks very bright as the present case of medical surgery training. Firms such as Google, Facebook, Apple & Samsung are investing big money to realize the full potential that VR holds for us and to bring it to the masses.

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