Published on October 3rd, 2019 | by Emergent Enterprise0
How Augmented Reality Will Overhaul Our Most Crucial Industries
Thought leader and futurist Peter Diamandis shares at SingularityHub how augmented reality is impacting a variety of industries. As more and more successful use cases are adopted in the field, AR is becoming a more commonplace experience for users. And, the hardware and software continues to improve in user experience: better clarity and latency, more intuitive and less disruptive. AR glasses will one day soon be as common as safety glasses in the workplace.
Augmented reality (AR) has already exceeded over 2,000 AR apps on over 1.4 billion active iOS devices. Even if on a rudimentary level, the technology is now permeating the consumer products space.
And in just the next four years, the International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts AR headset production will surge 141 percent each year, reaching a whopping 32 million units by 2023.
AR will soon serve as a surgeon’s assistant, a sales agent, and an educator, personalized to your kids’ learning patterns and interests.
In this fourth installment of our five-part AR series, I’m doing a deep dive into AR’s most exciting industry applications, poised to hit the market in the next 5-10 years.
Let’s dive in.
(1) Surgeons and physicians
Whether through detailed and dynamic anatomical annotations or visualized patient-specific guidance, AR will soon augment every human medical practitioner.
To start, AR is already being used as a diagnosis tool. SyncThink, recently hired by Magic Leap, has developed eye-tracking technology to diagnose concussions and balance disorders. Yet another startup, XRHealth, launched its ARHealth platform on Magic Leap to aid in rehabilitation, pain distraction, and psychological assessment.
Moreover, surgeons at the Imperial College London have used Microsoft’s HoloLens 1 in pre-operative reconstructive and plastic surgery procedures, which typically involves using CT scans to map blood vessels that supply vital nutrients during surgery.
As explained by the project’s senior researcher, Dr. Philip Pratt, “With the HoloLens, we’re now doing the same kind of [scan] and then processing the data captured to make it suitable to look at. That means we end up with a silhouette of a limb, the location of the injury, and the course of the vessels through the area, as opposed to this grayscale image of a scan and a bit more guesswork.”
Dramatically lowering associated risks, AR can even help surgeons visualize the depth of vessels and choose the optimal incision location.
And while the HoloLens 1 was only used in pre-op visualizations, Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 is on track to reach the operating table. Take Philips’ Azurion image-guided therapy platform, for instance. Built specifically for the HoloLens 2, Azurion strives to provide surgeons with real-time patient data and dynamic 3D imagery as they operate.
Moreover, AR headsets and the virtual overlays they provide will exponentially improve sharing of expertise across hospitals and medical practices. Niche medical specialists will be able to direct surgeons remotely from across the country (not to mention the other side of the planet), or even view annotated AR scans to offer their advice.
Magic Leap, in its own right, is now collaborating with German medical company Brainlab to create a 3D spatial viewer that would allow clinicians to work together in surgical procedures across disciplines.
But beyond democratizing medical expertise, AR will even provide instantaneous patient histories, gearing doctors with AI-processed information for more accurate diagnoses in a fraction of the time.
By saving physicians’ time, AR will therefore free doctors to spend a greater percentage of their day engaging in face-to-face contact with their patients, establishing trust, compassion, and an opportunity to educate healthcare consumers (rather than merely treating them).
And when it comes to digital records, doctors can simply use voice control to transcribe entire interactions and patient visits, multiplying what can be done in a day, and vastly improving the patient experience.
(2) Assistance for those with disabilities
Today, over 3.4 million visually impaired individuals reside in the US alone. But thanks to new developments in the AI-integrated smart glasses realm, associated constraints could soon fade in severity.
And new pioneers continue to enter the market, including NavCog, Horus, AIServe, and MyEye, among others. Microsoft has even begun development of a “Seeing AI” app, which translates the world into audio descriptions for the blind, as seen through a smartphone’s camera lens.
During the Reality Virtual Hackathon in January, hosted by Magic Leap at MIT, two of the top three winners catered to disabilities. CleARsite provided environment reconstruction, haptic feedback, and Soundfield Audio overlay to enhance a visually impaired individual’s interaction with the world. Meanwhile, HeAR used a Magic Leap 1 headset to translate vocals or sign language into readable text in speech bubbles in the user’s field of view. Magic Leap remains dedicated to numerous such applications, each slated to vastly improve quality of life.
(3) Biometric displays
In biometrics, cyclist sunglasses and swimmer goggles have evolved into the perfect medium for AR health metric displays. Smart glasses like the Solos ($499) and Everysight Raptors ($599) provide cyclists with data on speed, power, and heart rate, along with navigation instructions. Meanwhile, Form goggles ($199)—just released at the end of August—show swimmers their pace, calories burned, distance, and stroke count in real-time, up to 32 feet underwater.