Part of the global IT market is expected to be worth more than $1,5 billion by 2020. Augmented reality (AR) could become the main driver of the VR/AR market by 2021 with a major share of 83 billion dollars.

AR in health and education (similar to the usage of 3D configurators) has far-reaching implications and can dramatically change these sectors. It is 2018 and so far we have only seen a few, few applications on practice. In this article, we will examine how and why augmented reality technology is already being used to make existing education and health processes more effective.

What is AR?

AR is a technology that enables information to be inserted into the physical world in real time via a mobile device. AR content can be retrieved simply by scanning or viewing a trigger image with a mobile AR application. Videos, 3D models, games or animations can be brought to life via your smartphone, PC or portable technology.

How is AR used in healthcare?

As a multi-billion dollar industry, global healthcare is ideal for investing in innovation. In recent years, AR has changed medicine dramatically. Some of the great technological inventions have fundamentally changed the way patients are now diagnosed and treated. In addition, AR has significantly improved the training of physicians. Many students are already using AR to examine patients in 3D.

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Current application of AR in medicine include:

  • Training and education.
  • Diagnostic medicine.
  • Complex and invasive surgery.
  • Patient care and follow-up process.
  • Healthcare consulting.
  • Training and education.

Teaching anatomy, surgery etc. is not an easy task. However, AR applications allow students to study the human body and better visualize health problems. AR applications illustrate how the human body works and by superimposing anatomical details on a 3D-printed human skeleton. While it is important that medical students understand the theory, they also need to be taught professional practice. This new AR technology enables them to access real-time data and patient information faster than ever before, greatly improving the learning process and providing a much more reliable diagnosis.

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AR apps are also important for patient education, especially when it comes to effective treatment and prevention. Medical and educational AR applications can now provide better insight into the effects of certain diseases. By using AR technology, patients and physicians alike can make more informed healthcare decisions that lead to a better standard of care.

Diagnostic medicine.

One of the most outstanding educational technologies in healthcare is Microsoft`s HoloLens. This device is not only a great platform for learning human anatomy, but can also help diagnose patients more efficiently.

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The real-time data can make medical diagnostics much more effective as doctors use the accurate visual information. It has become easier for medical staff to compare and document changes in a patient`s health over time.

Complex and invasive surgery.

AR can dramatically improve the quality of patient treatment. For example, risks associated with invasive surgery can be reduced by displaying the most important information to the surgeon. Invasive surgery has always required monitors in the operating room. But today, with the development of AR technology, a surgeon can simply wear smart glasses and concentrate on the task.

With the important statistics kept in mind, surgeons are not distraced. Devices like HoloLens are able to project digital scenes on what we see and prepare doctors for difficult procedures. This is of great importance for the quality of patient care. AR medical apps minimize the risk of error by superimposing an enlarged 3D version of the vital organs, which increases the field of view.

Patient care and aftercare.

AR technology is capable of improving patient care and follow-up phases. Very often, patients have to continue with certain treatments after leaving a hospital. For some people it can be quite difficult to keep track of the schedule and amount of medication to be taken. While some patients still prefer ordinary applications, AR applications can also act as personal assistants, reminding the patient to take medication or perform a series of exercises.

In addition, medical staff are able to manage records and access information to ensure that patients receive the best possible care. You do not need to manually enter the data into the system. Portable devices such as Google Glass are used to collect important health data. This facilitates management and minimizes the risk of human error.

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Healthcare consulting.

Google Glass technology can also help new mothers breastfeed. Several years ago, Google Glass conducted a study with the Australian Breastfeeding Association. Their telephone consultants observed “through the eyes of mothers” while mothers were breastfeeding at home. This helped breastfeeding mothers get expert help without having to wean the baby.

AR in education.

AR differs from VR in that it does not get you out of the real world. One of the most advanced forms of AR technology is the use of visual signals that software brings to action. For example, an educational application can use a graphic on a particular page as an anchor to display animations. It can represent a 3D model og the recognized image that can be rotated, zoomed, and explored in detail. Rendering in the 3D model everything that is difficult to visualize can help students gain a deeper understanding of the subject.

One of the easy-to-use AR learning applications that shows images “alive” is Quiver. As with many AR applications, after installation you will need to download trigger images from the official website. When these images are scanned, activate the AR experience and allow students to interact with 3D figures.

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However, the most effective AR technology in learning is interactive. When students ühysically engage with their learning materials, they become mentally more involved and motivated. During the interactive AR process, the camera not only captures the classroom, but also the students and their movements.

The 3 main reasons for using AR in education:

Interactive lessons.

By integrating AR into the lecture you can let your students participate in the lectures. Allow them to access models via AR applications and get them excited about learning.

Affordable and portable learning materials.

Getting numerous physical models, tons of detailed illustrations and huge boxes of practical materials is far from easy.  They`re not easy to carry and very costly, and sooner or later all the stuff will be exploited. Firstly, with AR there is no need to invest in physical materials. On the other hand, students can access and interact with course materials from their own devices at any time.

Impressive presentations.

Impressive AR presentations can quickly generate a lot of attention from the audience. The teacher can better involve students and deepen the concepts they learn in the lectures.

AR apps create amazing learning experiences and endless educational opportunities. In the future, AR will be increasingly used especially in the traing stage – the technology makes the classroom environment more interesting overall and makes it easier to convey complex learning content through visualizations. It becomes much easier to explain abstract and complicated terms.

Whether education, 3D modeling or healthcare, the development of AR apps promises us a whole new world. AR is radically changing the way people deal with things and objects in everyday life and will (still) have considerable effects in these areas in the coming years.