Augmented Reality has been earmarked as a powerful learning tool for medical students. Now Microsoft has just signed a partnership agreement that highlights the benefits of AR technology when it comes to designing healthcare provision spaces in hospitals.

Augmented reality helps designing hospital operating rooms too!

As far as most consumers are concerned, Augmented Reality (AR) is still languishing in the shadow of its sister technology, Virtual Reality (VR). In its blog, San Francisco-based tech adviser firm Digi-Capital says that “Virtual reality could be big soon. Augmented reality could be bigger, but might take longer to get there.” However, most experts agree on the prediction that in the longer term, revenue generated by AR will far exceed income from VR.

Augmented Reality seems already to have won over the corporate sector, with interesting examples from the real estate and construction businesses. Meanwhile healthcare is proving to be yet another fertile field for AR. Microsoft is using its Hololens products to help design hospital operating rooms. The tech giant recently announced that it is partnering with Kalamazoo, Michigan-based medical technologies firm Stryker. Stryker is looking to provide hospitals with an operating theatre design service based on Hololens. The tool has the potential to extend collaboration between the many stakeholders in, and users of, hospital operating theatres.

This use of AR technology in the healthcare sector is not however the first for Microsoft Hololens, whose version 3 is scheduled for delivery in 2019. The Canadian medical simulation company CAE Healthcare, Ohio multispecialty academic hospital Cleveland Clinic and Ohio’s Case Western Reserve University have all in the past used Microsoft technology to develop AR training programmes for healthcare practitioners.

By Pauline Canteneur