How can VR invade the health system?
14 October 2019
VR and AR have conquered more and more lines of business over the last past year. And today we will write about VR and AR among the health system.
The healthcare area began to use the VR (Virtual Reality) or AR (Augmented Reality) a few years ago, to help cure stress problems or schizophrenic behaviour. The healthcare environment is always looking for new advanced technologies in order to make its research evolution effective. For example:
- Light&Shadows just released the XR SUITE in which they are developing a new application : XR ERGO which allows ergonomists to visualize workstations ergonomics through a real person (equipped with trackers) at its workstation or at a virtual one with an avatar.
- The company c2Care developed applications for each kind of problems such as progressively immerging the patient to face his phobia or trying to lower his/her stress rate thanks to the immersion. But it is not the only possible way for the Virtual Reality to impact the field.
The alliance between VR and Human health
VR technology is used for training future doctors or nurses. Brilliant idea because even if they make mistakes in the training scenarios, the patient’s life is not in danger. The immersive experience offers real situations and real cases for students without the risks for a real patient. For example, the company SimforHealth, editor of numeric solutions for health training, developed MediaActiV: the first numeric simulation platform only for health professionals. It allows students and professionals training, or just allows to learn more about medical profession and techniques. This platform applies the ethical concept of “Never on the patient first”. It highlights the fact that the training is important in the medical field as the medical practitioners/clinicians has humans’ lives in their hands.
b) Pain management
These companies are aware of their technological powers and demonstrate that VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality) and MR (Mixed Reality) have a real impact on pain management. Indeed, in some hospitals, doctors experienced Virtual Reality (VR) by using it in place of analgesics or adding it to medicines. They observed it can reduce the time patients think about their pain and to feel further pain in general. By using VR, AR, or MR, the patient focused its attention and concentration on the scenes he/she is being showed thanks to the VR devices and thus does not focuses on his/her pain. That’s why VR has success on the pain management.
Another aspect of the VR has been studied: the report in Scientific Reports, of a study conducted by the Dr Miguel Nicolelis, neurosciences specialist in North Carolina in the USA, demonstrated that by equipping paraplegics persons with a suit and a VR headset in addition with a machine that stand them up, some patients began to reanimate some of their spinal cord and legs’ functions, made them move intentionally, and even began to walk. It’s the Walk Again Project!
The VR (Virtual Reality) has made its proofs in the medical field. Nowadays, it is used during treatment (e.g. chemotherapy) or during operations on the same level as hypnosis. On their website, HypnoVR offers various alternatives as: texts for conversational hypnosis – using during operations – in addition with local aesthesia; 3D hypnotic universe – displayed in the VR devices provided at disposal in hospitals for pain treatment; and musicotherapy – impact the heart rate and the relax state of patients using VR devices.
Practitioners and doctors are always looking for solutions to reduce the pain of their patients. Virtual Reality (VR) provided them with a temporary solution to reduce the pain and progress is still on its way.
VR and AR among the health system not only transform patients’ journey but also help practitioners in their daily work. Not to have to operate if it is not needed, not to give medicines if Virtual Reality works on the patient general state. In the medical system, VR has a very positive impact!
Industry 4.0 for a better future?
“The industry 4.0 concept or future industry correspond to a new way of organizing the means of production. This new industry placed itself at a crossroad between the virtual world, digital design, products management and real-world objects.” This is the Wikipedia definition. To simplify it, it is the combination of new technologies, like virtual reality, with the traditional supply chain processes. The industry 4.0 allows professionals to try the supply chain before putting it into place. Or even analysing the ergonomics of the workstations they want to setup.
In short, it empowers professionals and business owners to have a better control under every aspects of their operations :
to leverage instant data to boost their industry productivity, improve their processes and drive growth.
But where does it come from?
The industry 4.0 corresponds to a new revolution with a smarter industry, defined by the interconnexion of machines and systems and on production sites but also outside, with clients, other productions sites and partners. It connects a physical object with a digital one or with a digital device.
One key notion of the industry 4.0 is the digital twin, meaning being able to create and use a digital copy of a factory, a machine, a product or even an operator. The uses of the digital twin are numerous: from product design to its review to factory installation scenarios, or ergonomics analysis.
The industry 4.0 allows to organize production processes generated by innovations in link with: connected objects (IOT), VR, 3D printing, artificial intelligence (AI), to operates data. Certainly, these are the industry 4.0 ingredients!
A bit of history for this industry 4.0.
In the past, we experienced a few industrial revolutions, three exactly. The first industrial revolution took place in 18th century with the exploitation of coal with the James Watt’s steam engine. The second one happened the same century with the electricity and mechanic introduction, and the transport development. The third revolution was brought in the 20th century thanks to the electronic, telecommunications and IT.
And finally the fourth revolution based on what have been said before: smart industry and the use of new technology in a wider range of working fields. It was brought to the fore in 2011 during an indutrial technology fair/exhibition.
The 4th industrial revolution had an impact on everyone’s everyday life thanks to new technologies, development like smartphones, Augmented and Virtual Realities or internet.
Industry 4.0 put itself at the service of more and more industrials through the years. Why are industrials the principal target? They are the field of professionals which used the most machines and systems interconnexions. They also used robots that, thanks to new technologies, can be programmable, kind of independent. This new generation of industry will see the appearance of humans and robots collaborative work, finally working together.
What are the benefits of the industry 4.0 and what can be its future?
We observe different kind of benefits:
- Optimization and management of the supply chain,
- Precautionary maintenance and analytics,
- And boost and tracking of asset.
For the first one: Thanks to industry 4.0, solutions were created to give business owners better insight, and data visibility on their supply chain. Companies can deliver services and product to market faster, cheaper and of good quality thanks to their leverage of the supply chain management abilities compared to their less efficient competitors.
For the second one: The industry 4.0 also provides solutions for manufacturers. These solutions gave them the capacity to foresee when potential bugs – problems will happen before they do. Nowadays, manual maintenance is not sufficient enough. New technologies systems can define when problems are arising, or when machinery need to be fixed. They can also tell what are the potential issues that we may face. This way we can solve the problems before they happen or become even bigger. Analytics are essential today for manufacturers because they can ask themselves what can or will happen? How can it be fixed? These types of analytics questions enable manufacturers to go from the analysis phase to predictive maintenance phase as you can see on the graphic below.
And last but not least
By providing assets to manufacturers at each stage of the supply chain, the industry 4.0 allows them to be more efficient, to keep a good pulse on inventory, on quality, and on optimized opportunities in relation with logistics.
Industry 4.0 will guide business owners to a new level of optimization and productivity. Customers will also enjoy new customized objects which are already in stores like VR headset (Virtual Reality) for example. The economical reward is not negligible too. The researches and experimentations are ongoing and essential at this step of this new industry.
Light & Shadows includes itself in the Industry 4.0 through the solutions they offer. For example Interact, a Plug-In for the famous game engine Unity, allows the user to interact with their 3D data and PointCloud and to create complex VR/AR scenarios in just a few clicks.