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Augmented reality is changing the game for healthcare. With new augmented reality apps, technology and designs, hospitals have more opportunities to offer patients better and more powerful care in the operating room and beyond. But while augmented reality systems allow users to see and interact with their surroundings, visual enhancement isn’t the only benefit they can provide: a new app from researchers at CalTech and University of Southern California is helping people with visual impairments through audio guidance as well.

Find out about augmented reality in healthcare from The Wall Street Journal, MIT Technology Review, and TechCrunch:

The Operating Room of the Future

The Wallstreet Journal

The operating room is getting smarter, more effective and ultimately a lot less risky for patients. Offering a new era of innovation for surgery, mixed and augmented reality devices provide the ability to create a GPS-like map to see inside the body and help surgeons operate more precisely. “Making use of the information that augmented reality technology offers is an easy choice,” Dr. Bederson says. “I’ve already reached the point now in my own practice where it is so useful that I would not do certain cases without it if I had a choice.”

Brain Surgeons Get a Better View From Augmented Reality

The Wallstreet Journal

Can augmented reality help surgeons perform brain surgery? Brain surgery is never going to be easy. When a surgeon is removing a tumor, even a slight miscalculation in the angle of entry can interfere with important functions of the brain. But augmented reality may help: by blending digital imagery with the physical world, doctors can see deeper and faster, reducing the risk of error.

HoloLens Can Now Guide the Blind Through Complicated Buildings

MIT Technology Review

The World Health Organization estimates that 253 million people are blind or visually impaired. Recently, researchers at California Institute of Technology created a new HoloLens app that helps people with visual impairments navigate through buildings and gain a better sense of their surroundings. Researchers did this by taking advantage of the device’s real-time room and object mapping capability, as well as speakers that can make audio seem to be coming from different points in three-dimensional space. Markus Meister, professor at CalTech and coauthor of the study, shares how the app could eventually expand to use at hotels, malls and other unfamiliar spaces.

HoloLens Acts as Eyes for Blind Users and Guides Them with Audio Prompts


A new augmented reality app from researchers at CalTech and University of Southern California shows how HoloLens’ ability to quickly sense its surroundings can work as a prosthesis for the visually impaired. Instead of relaying visual data, the app guides individuals with visual impairments in real time through audio cues and instructions. “A hardware/software platform is now available to rapidly implement those ideas and test them with human subjects. We hope that this will inspire developments to enhance perception for both blind and sighted people, using augmented auditory reality to communicate things that we cannot see.”

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