Augmented Reality in Medicine

Author: Hamza Waheed, BioMedical Mondays 014



On July 6, 2016, a new game was released. The game become extremely popular and generated around 6.6 billion dollars in revenue for Nintendo in less than a year's time. This game is called Pokemon Go. It allowed people to lose weight, increase sales for their small business, and much more.  More importantly the smartphone game place augmented reality on people’s and companies radars. Augmented reality is a live direct or indirect view of a tangible work environment that has computer generated elements or sensory input like sound.  Augmented reality can also be thought of virtual reality without the glasses/headsets. If augmented reality can make big money and big innovation in the gaming industry, it will most definitely revolutionize other aspects of human life. Medicine is no different. Here are three ways augmented reality will revolutionize medicine.

  1. Information Innovation: Whenever a commercial of a drug comes on television, the commercial makes the drug seem deadly. With an endless list of side-effects and the mention of possible death, it's no wonder that patients feel afraid of to buy a new drug.  Now all of that will change. Augmented reality will be able to show how a drug works to the prospective patient. This will allow for less fear in the patient's mind of the drug.

  2. Finding Information/Location Faster:It is estimated that IV injections miss the proper vien. It goes without saying that there are serious health consequences and liability issues that can come into fruition. By using augmented reality, nurses can see where the vein is and perform the IV properly. AR (augmented reality) technology can be extended to doctors and surgeons. The technology can allow these professionals to find the body part they need faster and with much more accuracy. The number of health problems and liabilities should decrease with AR.

  3. Behavior Change: Many patients know that they need to take their medications, exercises, and eat healthier to control their health problem. However, some patients do not change their behavior. This problem can be solved, if not reduced, by augmented reality. The patient can see a video with the AR creating sound effects, figures, etc to incite some fear into the patient. In theory, a healthy dose of fear should motivate the patient to follow their treatment plan, thereby reducing unintended health consequences and a potential recurrence of the problem.

Here are three examples of how AR will transform health. There are many other ways it will transform health. As the technology gets better, people will find or will be able to solve more health problems. With the use of AR technology, people will live longer and healthcare will improve dramatically.