Virtual reality technology is finally becoming cheap, easily available, and even useful for clinical applications. At Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, Florida surgeons were faced with a baby recently born with only one lung and a poorly formed heart, typically a grave diagnosis. Nevertheless, seeing a possibility for corrective surgery they pushed ahead with developing a procedure that would save the child. Because the anatomy of the patient was so unusual, including the improper positioning of the heart, a serious challenge remained of understanding this particular patient’s unique morphology.
For this the researchers used software to convert CT scan data into a 3D representation that could be viewed using a Google Cardboard viewer coupled with a standard smartphone. Google Cardboard is really just a box with a couple of lenses that holds onto a smartphone. The left and right eye images are displayed side by side on the phone, while the lenses project the visualization toward each eye. The brain combines the two images and creates what looks like real 3D virtual reality.
The surgeons studied the patient’s anatomy using Google Cardboard and were ready for the procedure once the scalpels were on the table.
Here’s video from the Miami Herald with the family of the child and clinicians who worked toward the successful surgery:
Source: Nicklaus Children’s Hospital…