Tomorrow, You’ll See The First Surgery In Virtual Reality


On April 14th, Dr Shafi Ahmed will perform the first surgery captured in VR and broadcasted globally. The idea is not to make Guiness Records, but to help medical students learn from the operating room and eventually, train people to become doctors through technology advancements such as VR #realitymagic

The surgeon and cancer specialist is also co-founder of virtual and augmented reality firm Medical Realities, where he is currently working on making software that will help him train other people remotely using AR and 360-degree video streaming. It’s clear that his future is in the mixed reality field.

Fortunately, the 70-year-old man whom he is going to operate tomorrow accepted to be part of the experience. During the operation, a 360-degree camera rig will record everything from above the operating table in 4K and will stream it globally. Others will be able to watch it using Medical Realities’ mobile app and a Cardboard set.

“The operation isn’t very risky, but if there’s a major complication I’ll stop [the stream] immediately. But it’s also important that people who are training in medicine see problems. There is not perfect operation, ever. If we have some complications, you have to see how to deal with them”

Ahmed relationship with Google Cardboard began in 2013, when the company accepted to give him a pair of Google Glass to live-stream the removal of a liver tumor as seen by a surgeon. Since then, he’s tried to help more people with interest in medicine to get the training they need.

To make a difference though, you have to train hundreds, not just a couple of people, the doctor believes: “Let’s focus on how we scale up to be able to train many people around the globe, in different parts of the world, especially in low-income countries. When it comes to that, helping a few people won’t solve the world’s problems”.

What is their endgame? Dr. Shafi Ahmed and his company want to use VR to do surgeries, as he told Wired: “”Ultimately, people will be able to use VR to carry out operations and train themselves through virtual operations”.

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