Interactive Media Systems, TU Vienna

Applications of Virtual and Augmented Reality in Healthcare

By Hannes Kaufmann


Augmented Reality (AR) combines the real and the virtual and is interactive in real-time. In addition, virtual and real objects are registered in 3D space to pinpoint their positions for precise overlays. AR has been in the news a lot in recent years, mainly because of AR Apps on smartphones. Augmented Reality has a lot more to offer though. Hardware setups are versatile and range from mobile devices to immersive lab installations. Just as versatile are the application areas ranging from industrial uses (e.g., automotive, manufacturing), training and education, modelling (architectural planning), design, visualization (e.g., scientific, medical, and information), entertainment and more recently, the widening spectrum of possibilities in the medical domain, rehabilitation and therapy. An example of the latter is an EU FP7 ICT project on virtual rehabilitation - PLAYMANCER. It focused on developing serious games for cognitive behavioural therapy - specifically for patients with eating disorders and pathological gambling, and on serious games for the rehabilitation of chronic back pain patients. Rehabilitation for chronic pain follows a multidisciplinary approach, which despite the effort, often lacks long term success. Patients fail to translate skills learned in therapy to everyday life. In order to encourage continuous training and ensure impact at a wider scale when it comes to "Active Ageing", technology can and should be used to motivate people to exercise at home.


H. Kaufmann: "Applications of Virtual and Augmented Reality in Healthcare"; in: "Dagstuhl Seminar 12231 "Future Internet for eHealth"", Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum fuer Informatik, Germany, Dagstuhl, Germany, 2012, (invited), 12 - 13.


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