How Virtual Reality Can Change Medical Technology

- July 21, 2017

Extensive research and data indicate that Virtual and Augmented Reality have the potential to change the face of medical technology: more importantly, the ways in which medical device designers operate, innovative, and create.

Yet the technologies have inevitable hurdles to overcome, despite the enormous progresses and successes in the past decade. While patients are incontrovertibly benefiting from the experience of virtual reality in certain areas, experts agree that in order for AR and VR to “disrupt” medical technology, the intrinsic challenges must be explained, understood, and faced.

One of the first hurdles that must be tackled is consumer adoption. According to expert Brandon Bogdalek, a consultant for advanced development with Minneapolis-based firm Worrell, the high cost of advanced VR and AR platforms (which ranges fro hundreds to thousands of dollars) creates a barrier between product and consumer. While large medical device and pharmaceutical companies have the funding and resources to create products, the general public is largely unable to access the technology.

Moreover, the high-priced AR and VR headsets are often not mobile, as they are tied to computers. Consumers are generally used to constant access to digital content via smartphones, yet most AR and VR technologies are tethered to computers and not yet mobile.

The speed at which AR and VR experiences operate is also an issue, as slow network speeds would ultimately spur issues related to ‘bandwidth and latency.’ Bogdalek states that, in order to effectively utilize the technology, “You are going to need to have the speed and the quality of the experience that you are looking for.”

Perhaps most importantly, like any other technologies that are connected, the platforms of AR and VR may be vulnerable to cyber attacks, which becomes an increasingly critical and serious issue when related to healthcare applications. Because companies want to protect patient information, it is imperative to know that the technology is protected and secure.

The objective of the MedTech Impact conference is to guide healthcare practitioners and professionals through the process of implementing practices and protocols related to digital medical technologies, and adapt to—and more importantly, advance—the evolving sphere of healthcare. Attendees will learn how to incorporate AR and VR elements, in addition to a host of other new and emerging technologies, into practice: the chance to be at the true forefront and future of medical healthcare.

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