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Metaverse Minute: How digital twins are revolutionizing medicine

February 24, 2022 in Manufacturing | 5 min. read
GigXR_HoloPatient_Header
GigXR_HoloPatient_Header

As you’ll see throughout our Metaverse Minute series, many organizations are already using the industrial metaverse to simulate and discover solutions to real-world problems. For example, the healthcare industry is realizing an overwhelmingly positive impact with immersive tech. February is American Heart Month, and I’m excited to share some of the medical applications of Unity’s digital twin technology that uses AI, virtual reality (VR) and extended reality (XR).

*Warning: This blog post contains medical imagery that may be jarring for some people.*

1. GigXR’s HoloPatient

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What is it?

A learning app that uses holographic simulations of standardized patient scenarios

Why are we excited?

Despite years of coursework, medical students often gain practical training with real patients through trial and error – or worse, trial by fire. Today, with XR technology, we can simulate real-world situations – like a patient going into cardiac arrest – and provide safe-to-fail experiences that mimic clinical environments. Using holographic patients removes real-life medical risk, as well as pressure on students. Trainees are more engaged in learning while improving their diagnostic skills. Our hope is that adoption of applications like GigXR’s HoloPatient increases so that by the time students reach the field, they are well versed in the challenging scenarios they will confront.

2. VirtaMed’s surgical simulations

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What is it?

Advanced surgical training developed with VR

Why are we excited?

VirtaMed believes that “healthcare professionals should never have to perform a procedure for the first time on a patient.” By training with VirtaMed’s immersive simulations, surgeons entering orthopedics, gynecology, and other specialties have already performed invasive procedures in VR. The technology aims to shorten learning curves and create a seamless transfer of skills to the operating room. We are excited to see how this will improve patient care.

3. Ouva’s virtual assistant

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What is it?

A smart assistant that helps patients navigate a hospital campus

Why are we excited?

When I heard about Ouva’s Virtual Assistant, I immediately recognized how helpful this would be for patients receiving cancer treatments. As anyone who has experienced cancer or has a family member or friend with a cancer diagnosis knows, treatment can involve many different specialties and often leads patients across several healthcare facilities. The navigation can be daunting and exhausting. Ouva uses artificial intelligence to guide people to their destination via their smartphone or hands-free hospital displays. This guidance should reduce anxiety and frustration in many scenarios that are already stressful for patients and family members. I hope to see Ouva in hospitals across the U.S. improving patient experiences.

Don’t miss the upcoming webinar How Ouva builds a production-ready patient monitoring platform with synthetic data

4. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital presurgical prep with VR

Brayden Otten, recipient of VR-planned surgery.
Brayden Otten, recipient of VR-planned surgery. Photo courtesy of NPR.

What is it?

VR medical imaging for complex surgical planning

Why are we excited?

The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is making incredible advances by leveraging VR. Dr. Ryan Moore and his team are finding long-term solutions for children with extremely rare heart conditions. Most recently, Brayden Otten, whose heart could not properly pump blood, was healed with a surgery visualized in VR. VR is also helpful in explaining surgical procedures to patients and their families. We hope that VR continues to bring light to cases, like Brayden’s, previously considered lost causes. With the medical metaverse, we aim to save lives in the real world.

Share your Unity digital twin with @DigitalTwin

We know there are many more applications of Unity and would love to see yours! Tag our handle @digitaltwin on Twitter with a brief summary of your application and you may see it in the next Metaverse Minute.

February 24, 2022 in Manufacturing | 5 min. read