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AR and VR Technology Enhancing Medical Practices and Education

AR VR

The augmented and virtual reality technology has been around for years and has undergone several developments owing to the advancements in computational power, high-resolution displays, graphics processing, and storage. The technology has played a key role in transforming the entertainment industry. However, for the last few years, the healthcare, retail, and real estate sectors have shown a keen interest in the AR and VR technology and are incorporating it in their solutions and services.

Technology has always played a key role in driving the medical industry. The need for improved diagnostic and treatment procedures along with the increased expenditure on healthcare are propelling the adoption of AR and VR technology in this sector.

Applications

Medical practices and education are the two broad categories under which the AR and VR technologies find their applications. VR exposure therapy, AR autism treatment, and AR phantom limb pain are the major application areas under medical practices, while under medical education, there are surgery simulation and anatomy teaching.

Eminent universities and companies are focusing on the development of devices and software enhancing medical treatments. For instance, the anatomage table built by Stanford University visualizes the human body parts and helps in better understanding of the human anatomy. Similarly, the VR medical visualization platform developed by the Surgical Theatre company simplifies a surgical procedure and enhances its accuracy.

Additionally, the introduction of these technologies has also enhanced the monitoring of treatment, adverse events, signs, and fitness activities of the patients.

Market value and components

The latest market intelligence report, published by BIS Research titled “Global Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Market in Healthcare – Analysis and Forecast (2019-2025),” analyzes and provides in-depth details about the growth of the augmented and virtual reality market across the healthcare industry during the forecast period, 2019-2025. As per the published report, the global augmented and virtual reality market in healthcare is projected to grow at a CAGR of 23.13% and reach $78.45 billion by 2025.

Hardware, software, and services are the key components of the AR and VR market. Amongst these, the software segment followed by services is expected to witness growth at the fastest CAGR during the forecast period. The report published by BIS Research categorizes the software and services segments under different sub-segments. Software include enterprise solutions, image capture and scanning, games and applications, content, and dev tools. Further, services constitute consulting, custom application development, and system integration, set-up, and support.

Recent Developments

In January 2018, Google launched the WebXR API, a new form of chrome allowing users to download 3D objects and experience AR without the need for an application. In the same year, another tech-giant, Apple, also supported the file format named Universal Scene Descriptor (USDZ), which enables AR experiences. The most recent product launch has been made by Microsoft in February 2019 with its product HoloLens 2, which analyzes and processes visual data locally.

Both start-ups and established companies are investing in the market and are coming up with innovative augmented and virtual reality-based solutions. Life sciences and health plans are anticipated to emerge as great business opportunities in the coming future. The integration of these technologies in life sciences is expected to enhance patient services and support. On the other hand, health plans with AR and VR technology will allow people to visualize and analyze in real time the favorable and adverse effects of their present health habits.

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