Medicine isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of holograms, but it looks like that may change soon. Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that it is developing futuristic holographic goggles called HoloLens. Meant to compete with the likes of Google Glass in the emerging markets associated with 3D and collaborative technology, the HoloLens has the potential to revolutionize the healthcare industry by allowing doctors to use holograms to simulate or explain complex medical procedures.
To create holograms, the HoloLens uses a mini computer equipped with lenses, projectors, motion sensors and speakers. The resulting holograms are realistic enough that people may convince themselves that the images they are seeing are real objects. The 3D image that a hologram creates is the result of light particles bouncing around the engine of the computer, going through the goggle’s lenses, and ricocheting off of each other as they hit different layers of blue, green and red glass.
The release of the HoloLens means that holograms (and simulations in general) may take on a significant role in medical education. For example, physicians will be able to practice difficult surgeries that would be impossible to realistically simulate without the hologram’s 3D images.The HoloLens will also play an important role in patient education and engagement. For instance, the device will allow physicians to explain the details of a complicated surgery to a patient. Health professionals are hopeful that the visuals provided by the holograms will serve to clarify things that complex medical terminology cannot.
The possibilities are truly endless. In fact, according to Dr. Bill Crounse, the Senior Director of World Health at Microsoft, the goggles could be used for telemedicine, medical modeling, employee training, interactive examinations and virtual care.
It’s an exciting time to be following developments in the healthcare industry. Technological advancements continue to be applied as a form of connecting medical professionals with their patients, spreading valuable information that helps people take care of themselves, and improving the execution of medical procedures.