Technology is very present in our lives. Proof of this is the increasing use of computers, smartphones, tablets and video games. Technology helps us with daily tasks, provides entertainment and fun, but can also improve fields such as medicine and health by helping to understand concepts, forming and encouraging both patients and healthcare personnel.

Technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality have been introduced in our lives mainly through video games and have a lot of potential for implementation in the world of health. Everybody knows about these concepts but we are going to comment these terms to avoid confusion.

The mixed reality (MR) consists of combining the virtual world and the real world, creating spaces where virtual objects interact with real people and vice versa. The degree of mixing between these two worlds gives rise to the concepts we know as augmented reality and virtual reality.

The augmented reality (AR) is a simplification of the mixed reality where the user is stimulated with virtual contents in real time.

Virtual reality (VR), however, consists of virtual iteration with virtual objects in a virtual environment.

The AR and MR technologies have a wide field of work in the medical field, such as the fusion of the 3D data of the medical examination with the patient’s view that allows improving the precision in the diagnoses. AR has a clear application in supporting surgery, while VR is more suitable for simulation without the actual patient. Any of these technologies can be used for the training of doctors and medical students, as they improve the situation and the spatial awareness of the practitioner. In addition, the patient can also be supported by a variety of applications through this technology focused on training, treatment, rehabilitation…

These technologies have been used for many years in different aspects of medicine. After the explication of these three reality types, my next post will be based on the application of them in the health field.

Álvaro Melero Gil
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