Improving efficiencies here and now with VR and 3D

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | April 12, 2019
From the April 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Unlike some new technology, AR/VR devices have emerged at a time where user experience is a top consideration. Therefore, they’re very user-friendly. In Park’s experience, it takes people only minutes to become proficient in controlling the devices, but he admits adoption may move slowly as people are convinced to abandon the keyboards, mice and 2D monitors they’ve used for decades.

Renderings can be created from any cross-sectional (3D) imaging, with CT and MR being the most common, but models using molecular imaging like PET are also possible.

The time it takes to create a rendering is wholly dependent upon the type of rendering desired. “Detailed surface-rendered models, or indirect volume rendering, can take one to two hours to generate by manual labor. Direct volume rendering takes less than 30 seconds to generate and does not require any manual labor, but you usually need powerful processors. There are advantages and disadvantages between the two types of rendering, and we’re exploring and evaluating both methods,” Park said.

Plans for improvements include making models easier to manipulate by using an Xbox controller as well as automating registration using computer vision and image-based markers.

Acknowledging there’s only so much time in a day and being a developer is challenging enough without also being a full-time resident, Park has reached out to former medical school colleagues with Medivis, a startup focused on AR in medicine, to collaborate with.

As far as the future, Park says he hopes “to establish an AR-assisted navigation system that accurately tracks and registers 3D holographic volumes onto patients for real-time, virtual procedural guidance. The improved anatomic understanding and spatial localization provided by AR can improve patient safety and outcomes, increase procedural efficiency and technical success, and reduce the amount of anesthesia or X-rays utilized during the procedure.”

The intent is to enlist the help of AR to make procedures safer and allow them to be performed with greater confidence, all while improving efficiency and reducing costs.

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