James Hackett, creative director at INVIVO Communications, wears an Oculus Rift headset while a monitor in the background displays the view for others to see.
James Hackett, creative director at INVIVO Communications, wears an Oculus Rift headset while a monitor in the background displays the view for others to see.

The Virtual and Augmented Reality industries have exploded onto the scene this year: in the news, on our phones and in our homes.

Mixed Reality

Tech Goliaths such as Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and Sony are in the Mixed Reality game, in addition to hundreds of start-up companies—which might be why Goldman Sachs has predicted that mixed reality will be an $80 billion market by 2025, roughly the size of the PC market today, with healthcare making up over $5 billion of the total. Heather Bellini, Business Unit Leader, Telecommunications, Media and Technology at Goldman Sachs declared, “We think [virtual and augmented reality have] the potential to transform how we interact with almost every industry today, and we think it will be equally transformative from both a consumer and an enterprise perspective.” [Source]

The impact is just beginning for healthcare. People are already citing the health benefits of the augmented reality smartphone game Pokémon Go. Google Cardboard VR was credited with helping save a baby’s life. The first livestreamed 360-degree VR surgery has already taken place, giving the world access to an accomplished surgeon’s perspective in a laparoscopic operation. The first clinical trials with VR are gearing up by Cedar Sinai and AppliedVR. The impacts on health are large scale, affecting patients, doctors, and everyday people.

When looking for new ways to communicate science, it’s easy to be sceptical of fads and the latest tech buzz. However, using virtual reality can create an immersive experience that enhances retention of knowledge.

“When you are able to put a person in a place, they will remember it… the spatial memory is better than the iconic memory.”

Dr. Tom Furness, Human Interface Technology Laboratory

At INVIVO, we consider how best to direct the user’s participation from gesture controls to digital wayfinding. Over the last year, INVIVO has become adept at using VR to tell differentiated stories in a 360-degree environment through a combination of “on-rails” guided storytelling and open self-exploration where the user can view additional information through gaze-triggered pop-ups. The possibilities for user participation are growing, from seeing the world from a new vantage point, to being able to take control with virtual hands and experience haptic feedback while manipulating a virtual environment.

Once the headset is on, distractions are removed even from the users’ peripheral vision, and they can stay focused on learning the content presented to them, even in a crowded conference setting.

“According to Dr. Narendra Kini, CEO at Miami Children’s Health System, the retention level a year a VR training session can be as much as 80%, compared to 20% retention after a week with traditional training.”

John Gaudiosi, Fortune

With virtual reality, learning about a complex surgical procedure or a drug’s mechanism of action becomes an adventure that the user participates in. By taking people away from their phones, if only for a little while, and immersing them in a virtual world, the experience is remembered and often shared with colleagues afterwards. Learning through virtual reality is becoming the new standard for healthcare professionals. After trying out Medtronic’s VR experience, developed by INVIVO for the launch of their innovative drug-coated balloon last summer, the feedback from their customers was telling:

“This is amazing! This is THE best way to experience the product.”

Dr. Jorge Cuenca, Vascular Surgeon, Hospital Universitario de Granada

[Source: Medtronic]

At INVIVO, our history of working with AR goes back several years, and our team is excited to be working with the latest technology to hit the scene. In addition to numerous marketing and training AR/VR tools for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry, we created the Bloodstream Explorer for Google Cardboard, free on Android and iOS. We have also created an educational game, launching in the coming weeks on Steam for the HTC Vive, a virtual reality platform that incorporates haptic feedback using hand controllers.

As the mixed reality market matures, INVIVO is poised to strengthen its leadership position in the healthcare training and marketing space. Our 18 years of experience in 3D animation and rich digital content creation has given us a solid base to craft mixed reality learning experiences. Are you ready to immerse yourself?