Is Virtual Reality going to become a Reality?

Recently, the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg had developed anaugmented reality iPad app (MITK pille) that overlays the virtual image of internal organs on the real-life image of the patient using the iPad 2’s camera.

This intrigued me as I had studied the concept of overlaying virtual images on real patient “data” for over 2 years. In 2009, I defended my Master’s Thesis on “Interface design for a virtual reality-enhanced image-guided surgery platform using surgeon-controlled viewing techniques” (it is a mouthful to describe!) – and oh-how similar this is to my topic 3 years ago!

Anyway, it got me thinking… how much has changed from 2009 to now in terms of implementing virtual reality in the operating room?

Problems encountered in 2009

  • Potential errors in medical image registration
  • Cumbersome nature of magnetic and optical tracking in intra-operative situations
  • Sterile environment of an operating room

Problems encountered today 2012

  • It is likely each of the three points I just mentioned are just as relevant today as they were 3 years ago…
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