The potential uses for AR are practically limitless, and nowhere will it have a bigger effect than in the healthcare sector. Not only that, slowly but surely, society is moving towards the mass adoption of the technology, into our everyday lives and beyond.
Augmented reality is simply the enhancement of our experiences via the overlay of additional information. Recently, the developments in AR have come in the form of headsets and glasses, which once put on, allow us to perceive the real world, with various additions, which range dramatically depending on what technology is being used for.
Surgery is one such use, and experts predict that healthcare is going to be one of the industries to benefit most from augmented reality. Allowing students to train using one pair of AR goggles, as opposed to cadavers, will be a more efficient and affordable way for them to learn, and this potential use is already well documented. But there are other possibilities as well. One is the notion that medical scans and charts can be overlaid onto a patient’s body as the surgeon is operating. This would allow for collaboration in real time between doctors on opposite sides of the world, amongst other things.
The current issue is that in order to operate a piece of AR tech in this manner, clear and sometimes complicated voice commands or hand gestures are required, to do things like scroll down a menu, for example. This means that the surgeon’s attention is divided between operating on the patient and trying to navigate the operating system of whichever piece of AR tech they are using. Obviously, this is undesirable, as one would hope that when operating, the surgeon can fully focus on the task at hand, rather than trying to make some complicated piece of technology work.
But this problem may soon be solved. Using brain sensors in a pair of goggles, the headset can pick up, and react to, electrical activity in the brain of the surgeon, allowing them to control medical images, navigate menus, and zoom in and out, all with the power of their mind. Thus, their hands remain free, and their focus undivided. This development has huge potential, not only in the healthcare industry, but every sector, and the power to manipulate data with our mind makes the widespread adoption of AR more likely.