In the last few years, the HoloLens has become a popular tool for use in medical procedures and training. But recently, the Magic Leap One has gained momentum in the space as well when it comes to medical use cases.
The latest medical app for the Magic Leap One, the CHARM (short for CHARIOT AR Medical) Simulator, uses the device's spatial computing capabilities to replace or supplement the traditional manikins and task trainers with virtual models and enables multiple medical professionals or students to participate in a simulation simultaneously via the headset's multi-user mode.
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"We want it to be a cheaper, superior alternative to simulation. Right now, simulation rooms cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. So, it is cheaper for a medical school to buy a bunch of AR headsets instead," said Coby Palivathukal, one of the app's developers, in an interview with Next Reality.
The app offers two roles for users: simulation (sim) manager or participant. The sim managers have access to a virtual tablet for configuring the simulation.
Users can add a virtual patient, bed, and vitals monitor to the scene, as well as control the patient's vitals, customize the patient as a boy, girl, man, woman, or soldier, and even add animations to depict symptoms, such as coughing or general pain.
With the simulation room set, participants can join the experience and interact with the virtual content while the sim manager guides them through the scenario.
Working with Palivathukal on the app is Trevor Rose, a sixteen-year-old from Florida who excels at creating multi-user AR experiences. Palivathukal says that Normcore, a Unity plugin for multi-user app development, made the experience easier to implement.
Currently, the app is still under development, with the team working to polish a few more details over the next two weeks before a final, packaged version is available for people to start using. Plans for the app's release are not finalized, but Palivathukal expects to publish the app to Magic Leap World in the near future.
"We're really excited about the potential that this has we'd love for this application to keep growing," said Palivathukal. "Eventually, we think that the characters, with high-fidelity assets, can replicate the human side of simulations."
The app is being developed as part of an initiative from the Childhood Anxiety Reduction through Innovation and Technology (CHARIOT) project at Stanford Children's Hospital, a program that uses virtual reality and augmented reality technology to alleviate the stress that medical procedures can have on young patients. For example, an AR experience via HoloLens uses animated characters to entertain and educate patients at the hospital during the insertion of an IV.
The co-leads of the CHARIOT Program, Thomas Caruso and Samuel Rodriguez, want to continue to test the efficacy of the app at Stanford University's medical school and run some experiments to determine whether it is truly effective as a training tool. Those results will likely be published in the next year, according to Palivathukal.
So, why use the Magic Leap One instead of the HoloLens, which has also demonstrated the ability to excel in medical environments? Well, Magic Leap donated headsets and funding to see what the group could do, according to Palivathukal. Eventually, though, he'd also like to see the app on HoloLens and doesn't want it to be exclusive to just one platform.