Augmented Diagnosis – Future of Diagnostic Imaging?
Augmented Reality promises to revolutionize just about every aspect of our lives. One of the most promising fields for AR is Healthcare. Within healthcare, there are any number of applications for AR technology, including education, telepresence, and even remote surgery.
One such rapidly expanding field in AR and healthcare, is “Augmented Diagnosis” – augmented reality assisted diagnostic imaging.
Medical Imaging or Diagnostic Imaging is one of the most critical area within healthcare, as it helps doctors detect and diagnose diseases accurately – from heart diseases to cancer.
Augmented Reality technology is expected to disrupt the traditional medical imaging space. AR can display numerical values as visual fields potentially changing the ways in which healthcare providers think about and use that medical imaging data.
AR enabled temperature sensing – could potentially become a critical tool in care provider’s arsenal to conduct diagnosis without being close to patient.
Body temperature might be the simplest diagnostic metric that there is. And yet, gathering this simple metric requires specialist equipment and forces care providers to get very close to a potentially infectious person.
The recently released Rokid Glass 2 smart glasses can measure body temperature accurately from nearly ten feet away. Further, because different temperatures can be seen, these foldable, monocular augmented reality glasses can be used for more sensitive diagnoses than simply identifying a fever. Along with providing safety of conducting diagnosis from a distance, such AR glasses can detect temperature of a large group of people within seconds making them a valuable tool during pandemics like Covid-19. Rokid Glass 2 is manufactured by China headquartered Rokid, which has so far raised over $150 million in funding.
The technology will be critical at places like Airports, Metros, Educational Institutes, Museums etc, as the world slowly moves out of the shadow of Coronavirus.
SentiAR’s Real-time Modeling
If temperature is the simplest visualization, then the human heart may be among the most complicated. SentiAR is a solution for displaying larger-than-life three-dimensional model of the patient’s actual anatomy.
These gesture-controlled models can be used before or during operations to guide delicate surgeries. They can also be used as a real-time monitoring system to diagnose potentially fatal heart conditions.
SentiAR is a US based start-ups founded in 2017. The company received funding of $ 3 million and are working with the Washington University’s Office of Technology Management to bring the technology to market and have submitted it to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for approval.
The first two solutions that we’ve looked at are used for diagnosis between the patient and the care provider. However, much of diagnosis doesn’t happen in the room with the patient – it happens in the laboratory.
Holo4Labs is an award-winning platform that tags physical lab equipment with digital information. This allows lab technicians to access information, take notes, make calculations, compile reports, and configure machinery, all through a headset.
The platform is compatible with gesture controls, but if the user has their hands full, they can also use voice controls.
Users can also use the display to collaborate remotely with colleagues or instructors in live video calls, or to watch recorded sessions and tutorials.
AR and AI enabled Microscope could soon be a norm
While there are many start-ups working on technologies to transform the industry, technological giant Google is working on disrupt the diagnosis process using a combination of Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence.
Google Cloud recently announced plans to develop an augmented reality and artificial intelligence-enabled microscope that would help care providers accurately diagnose early-stage cancers. This would be done for the Defense Innovation Unit.
“To effectively treat cancer, speed and accuracy are critical,” the Vice President of Google Cloud’s Global Public Sector, Mike Daniels, said in the release. “We’re partnering with the DIU to provide our machine learning and artificial intelligence technology to help frontline healthcare practitioners learn about capabilities that can improve the lives of our military men and women and their families.”
The AI program will be fed with anonymized data from real-life cancer patients. Hopefully, this will allow the program to accurately diagnose cancer earlier and more accurately.
While the tool only recently went into development and is currently intended only for use by military institutions, many technologies in augmented and virtual reality started with the military before achieving success and reaching the general public. Augmented Reality Microscopes (ARM), is expected to be one such development that will benefit the general public and help the healthcare industries fight against cancer.
The Future of Diagnostic Imaging
Diagnostic imaging is a prime candidate for an augmented reality boost because many diagnostic images are already three-dimensional digital models. That’s not to say that there is nothing more for augmented reality to bring to the table.
Augmented reality is more than just three-dimensional digital models. These models can be manipulated, annotated, and collaborated in on and over in ways that conventional diagnostic imaging just can’t be. AR along with AI and Internet of Things is expected to be critical to make “Predictive Health” a reality.
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