VR is helping doctors see coronavirus-infected lung tissue in simulation

Doctors at the George Washington University Hospital came across their first Covid-19 patient, who is now the subject of their experiment wherein his lungs are being diagnosed to see severity of the disease.

The doctors used VR technology simulation in which they are able to see healthy as well as virus-infected tissue, as can be seen in this YouTube video explainer.

Dr. Keith Mortman, chief of thoracic surgery at GW Hospital, said in an interview for HealthCast, the hospital’s podcast: “There is such a stark contrast between the virus-infected abnormal lung and the more healthy, adjacent lung tissue. And it’s such a contrast that you do not need an MD after your name to understand these images … the damage we’re seeing is not isolated to any one part of the lung. This is severe damage to both lungs diffusely.”

Though the coronavirus outbreak has put billions in lockdown, many online-only experiences from previously brick-and-mortar establishments are proliferating through VR technologies. As reported by the New Statesman, London’s The Courtauld Gallery museum’s virtual tour recently received 723% more visitors than the seven days before. The museum’s online collection page has also soared from about 2,000 daily visits to 175,000, and is now averaging 75,000 a day.

The National Gallery of London also recently tracked an increase in digital demand, with footfall to its virtual tour rising by 1000% compared to the same time in previous year. Likewise, Google Arts and Culture, which provides hundreds of virtual tours for world leading museums, is also seeing a rise in traffic.

But what impact will the self-imposed quarantine amid COVID-19 outbreak have on the AR/VR industry? As a Dice Insights article argues, it is believed that the current crisis will give rise to new technologies that would enable people to collaborate more deeply. For instance, Microsoft had already positioned its AR-based HoloLens as a way for everyone from surgeons to industrial workers to collaborate over long distances. Facebook’s Oculus, meanwhile, is already working as a tool for people to meet and chat in a virtual space.

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