Saturday 1 October 2016

A real surgery will be live streamed in VR today

Mark O'Beirne

Published 14/04/2016 | 12:26

VR
VR

If you want to learn what it's like to be in an operating theatre while a procedure is taking place, a surgery is to be live streamed today.

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It’s not our idea of the best thing to watch over lunch, but VR technology will let you step into the operating theatre today to witness a surgery from the Royal London NHS hospital in the UK.

Dr. Shafi Ahmed will operate on a 70-year-old patient with cancer of the colon from 1pm. Two 360-degree cameras will capture footage, which will be live streamed through the free VRinOR app.

You can switch between the cameras in real time and look around using either a VR headset or by moving your smartphone around. Alternatively, you can watch it via your web browser.

The app and event is the work of Medical Realities, which utilises VR, 3D, and 360-degree videos for the purpose of medical training. Mativision, an immersive video specialist, says that the purpose of the VR surgery is "not to present close-ups, nor microscopic imagery," but to "give the feeling of actually being in the room."

Dr. Ahmed says that live streams such as today’s will enable remote education and provide an immersive experience. "In an operating theatre you have noises going on, you have stress levels, you have things going wrong,” he told Ars Technica.

"With immersion you learn how to behave professionally with your colleagues and how a team functions. Suddenly that whole learning environment becomes much greater than it would have been with a [conventional] simulation, which you can't create unless you're in a VR immersive world."

Ahmed previously wore Google Glass while removing tumours from a patient, giving 13,000 students a chance to see the procedure from his perspective.

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