Augmented reality is quickly becoming much more than a gaming trend. Chances are you have heard of the popular augmented reality smartphone game called Pokemon Go! Or maybe you have seen youngsters using augmented reality games on their Nintendo handheld gaming systems. These games represent the infancy of augmented reality. The technology is poised to change health and fitness as we know it.
How Augmented Reality Will be Used in the Near Future
The magic of augmented reality is that it blends our physical reality with the digital realm. This technology will prove quite useful beyond video games. Augmented reality has a seemingly endless number of applications across biomedicine, healthcare, fitness, telemedicine and beyond. It won’t be long until augmented reality is used by everyday people to prevent the onset of diseases and sickness. It is common knowledge that behaviors lead to chronic illness, weight gain and all sorts of other physical maladies. Augmented reality will soon be use to measure behavior. This quantification of health will gauge patient activity, frequency of behaviors and their potential to induce health problems.
Today, people wear cutting-edge wearables and smart watches that track sleep patterns to gauge whether one is obtaining a truly restful night’s sleep or exercising at the proper level. Augmented reality implants will soon be implemented into human bodies to measure the state of one’s physical health. This technology will broadcast vital signs and other important information to medical professionals and digital records that tabulate personal health data for analytical purposes. Think of the future of augmented reality as an OnStar system for the human body. It will gather detailed information, transmit it to medical professionals or perform an automated analysis that makes the collected data incredibly useful.
A Digital Health Coach
Augmented robots will soon be in the home, coaching patients and even those who appear to be perfectly healthy. Consider the potential of augmented reality technologies like Google Glass. A patient who dons these high-tech frames can bring a medical professional directly into his world. Perhaps a mother who recently gave birth is having trouble with breastfeeding. All she has to do is don her Google Glass spectacles, allow a medical professional to see the problem from her point of view and provide real-time advice. Even someone who is blind can benefit from this technology by live streaming his life. Trusted observers could chime in when necessary to guide the vision impaired individual with audible advice as necessary.
A Look at What Might Be
Augmented reality apps are so advanced that they can create a simulated version of oneself, showing him exactly how he would look if he altered his behaviors. For example, if one would like to see a visual representation of himself after eating a dozen candy bars each week for a year, augmented reality will show such a simulated self. The same is true for smokers, drinkers and others who are curious as to how their behaviors will affect their aesthetics. This is the perfect tool to change human behavior and reduce healthcare costs across posterity.
Augmented Reality Ameliorates Surgeries
Google Glass transmits data to surgeons in real-time. Whether a surgeon needs data from a CT scan or an anesthesiologist requires a list of a patient’s current medications, this information can be streamed in a timely manner. Such instant access allows medical professionals to engage in more face-to-face interactions with patients rather than burying their faces in computer screens to look up data. This instant access to data and the ability to overlay digital graphics over patients will make it that much easier to perform precise surgeries. As an example, a surgeon can combine CT scan and MRI data to locate an exact point along the spine for a spinal surgery. Augmented reality will empower surgeons to see breast cancer through the skin, allowing for a highly accurate surgical procedure. Consider a nurse who needs to find a vein and avoid multiple punctures. The use of augmented reality will makes this process quite simple as it allows for a clear view of a patient’s veins.
Even the surgical training process will be simplified as a result of augmented reality technology. Medical students will practice surgeries with augmented reality technology, making it easier to select the proper surgical instrument, use it in a precise manner and avoid prolonged surgeries.