Future Tense

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Technology: Immersion Technology.

Manufacturer: Various.

Purpose: Immersion technology (both tele- and "traditional" immersion) helps surgeons perform intricate procedures through the use of 3-D visualization. Software programs combined with highly sensitive hardware components are being used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, reduce pain during burn treatments, and teach medical students.

Early Adopter: Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, IL.

How Loyola is Using It: During treatment, burn patients wear a stereoscopic, position-tracking helmet that immerses them in SnowWorld —a virtual reality world of three-dimensional graphics. Its interactive, multisensory features distract patients, leaving less attention for the processing of incoming pain signals.

Potential Improvement: Because of its mobile nature, immersion technology has the capability to expand access to care to the most remote hospitals.

What’s Next: Research studies are being performed on simulation human-interactive robots composed of an immersion display component, a 3D dynamic simulator, and a motion capture element that can be used for labor-intensive tasks, such as lifting patients out of bed.

Kathryn Mackenzie

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