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The Graduate Health & Life Sciences Research Library at Georgetown University Medical Center

Virtual Reality and Medicine

A guide to virtual reality use in health care and medicine.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality provides information alongside a real world view via images or text displayed in a smart phone app or in a smart glasses lens. In an augmented reality environment the digital world overlays the real world.  An example of augmented reality is the Pokemon GO app which superimposes game characters over the player's real environment.

The healthcare industry is investing in augmented reality to develop practical clinical and home health care implementations.  Some examples are  programs to help patients understand how a drug works, vein finding tools, real time visualizations based on pre-operative analysis and real world anatomical models. A smartphone, an AR app and sometimes printed "targets" are needed to get started with augmented reality.  Specialty "smart" glasses can also provide augmented reality experiences.

augmented reality

Pictures representing an untrained user assisted by augmented reality software placing precordial electrodes on the mannequin (a) and operating the ECG-device (b).  Image provided by the authors under a CC0 license