First ever VR livestream surgery happening very soon

Tune in to see how VR is now a medical teaching tool
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On 14 April at 1pm GMT, you'll be able to see how VR can be used in fields other than gaming and entertainment but it won't be for the faint of heart.

The virtual and augmented reality company Medical Realities, led by cancer surgeon Dr. Shafi Ahmed who will livestream a surgery he is performing thanks to a 360-degree camera rig with multiple lenses that will be positioned over the operating table.

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Mativision will provide the VR player letting the world view the operation from a compatible headset letting you look around the operating theatre and even zoom in and out of the procedure. It will also be overlaying graphics and labels over the stream during the operation to make it feel more like an educational immersive experience.

Ahmed will be performing an operation on a patient with colon cancer, which will take place at The Royal London Hospital. By downloading the company's VRinOR app, you'll be able to tune in with Google Cardboard and the Gear VR. The stream will be delayed by a minute and stopped in the event a complication arises but the surgery isn't expected to be troublesome.

Medical students from Barts Health NHS Trust and Queen Mary University of London will be donning VR headsets and participating in the operation from afar. Don't have a Cardboard or a Samsung Gear VR? You can still watch the operation from the Medical Realities website.


Back in 2015, Ahmed and Medical Realities released the Virtual Surgeon, a 360 degree recording of an operation. Companies especially in the world of sport have been trialling live broadcasts including the first ever live VR boxing match. Taking cameras into an operating theatre is certainly taking VR livestreaming into an entirely new and potentially life changing direction.

AR as a medical teaching tool isn't a new concept - Microsoft HoloLens has made it clear that the headset can be used by students learning anatomy in allowing them to walk around the human body. Using VR to teach medicine is fairly newer but has just as much potential as its AR counterpart.

Dr. Ahmed sees both AR and VR as tools of the future for teaching surgery on a global scale, especially in lower income countries. Talking to Wired, he said,"Thousands of medicine students can be trained by someone in Harvard, or in London, or in Rome. All they need is a smartphone's 3G or 4G connection."

To watch the first VR livestream surgery, iPhone VR headset owners can download the VRinOR app here, while Android phone or tablet owners can download it here. If you have a Gear VR, search for VRinOR in the Oculus Store to join in as well.


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