Augmented reality in medical education

Augmented reality in medical education

“The goal of Augmented Reality (AR) is to improve and enhance our perception of the surroundings by combining sensing, computing and display technologies. Most AR research addresses human vision, as it is generally considered to be our most important sense,” said Prof Dr Rahmita Wirza O.K. Rahmat from the Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology of Universiti Putra Malaysia at the e-KLESF 2021 webinar.

The webinar, titled “Augmented Reality in Medical Education: A Necessity or a Style?”, was held via Zoom and Facebook Live on 24 October 2021. The objectives were to educate the audience on the importance of using AR applications in medical education as well as to expose them to the importance of utilising good interface design for AR applications in medical education.

Prof Rahmita Wirza explaining the characteristics of the AR system

In her talk, Prof Rahmita Wirza shared the classical characteristics of the AR system. “The fundamental idea of AR is to combine or mix the view of the real environment with additional virtual content that is presented through computer graphics. Its convincing effect is achieved by ensuring that the virtual content is aligned and registered with the real objects. As a person moves in an environment and their perspective view of real objects changes, the virtual content should also be presented from the same perspective,” she explained. She further talked about the types of AR and briefly shared the AR applications in different areas.

She continued the talk by highlighting the main focus—AR in medical education. “The use of AR technology in learning has been highlighted several years ago, but still is not widely used among students, especially medical students,” she said, adding that there are still a handful of people who do not know what AR is and the advantages of using AR in today’s mobile app. “Most of the medical faculties learn human anatomy by using human cadavers. However, the cadavers of human beings, at times, have several layers that have been decayed and damaged, which would probably limit students’ learning process, except for certain universities. With the help of AR technology, the virtual 3D models that simulate the cadavers will be able to solve part of this learning process,” she said. 

She pointed out that some students and even educators do not use or lack familiarity with AR mobile apps; while those who are fascinated with the AR applications have limited interaction with the existing applications as the technology is still not able to turn or scale the 3D model. She also talked about the factors that limit the use of AR mobile applications in medical education. She shared her experiment outcome to find out the reason why AR in medical education is popular but not in real implementation. 

Prof Rahmita Wirza sharing some mobile apps to study human anatomy

Prof Rahmita Wirza providing a conclusion on how AR could be a style or necessity

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