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The Next Frontier in Medical Education: Apple Vision Pro’s Influence on Spatial Computing in Healthcare | By Vicky Smalley, Chief Technology Officer at FundamentalVR

When it was first announced, Apple Vision Pro was widely heralded as the savior of the VR/XR dream. Would Apple do to the spatial computing market what it did to the mobile phone market in the late nineties? What is the reality now that the device is launched – what does it mean for the business world’s adoption and effective utilization of spatial computing, and more specifically for our customers who are focused on surgical education and medical device sales and adoption?

As CTO of one the acknowledged leading companies in the realm of spatial computing, my team and I have had the extraordinary opportunity to work closely with Apple over the past few months. We’ve been harnessing the formidable capabilities of Apple Vision Pro for the advancement of medical education and these explorations have leveraged FundamentalVR’s groundbreaking intellectual property in spatial computing and haptics – a sector in which we are globally recognised – to develop immersive simulations and experiences.

One standout aspect of our collaborative venture is the utilization of the industry-leading capabilities of Apple Vision Pro. Professionals in medical simulation demand the highest fidelity in their tools and educational aids. With the robust performance available we have not only achieved the most lifelike visual simulations possible but have also integrated the sense of touch through grounded kinesthetic haptic feedback, a breakthrough for wireless spatial computing. This signals a leap forward in the realism and responsiveness that is achievable in medical simulations.

Truly effective spatial medical simulations transcend mere walkthroughs— they present learners with a complex, immersive environment where every choice matters. Learners can mistakenly select an incorrect instrument, interact with the incorrect anatomical part, and witness the repercussions of these decisions — all within a safe, virtual space. The crucial takeaway is the experiential learning gained from these errors, reinforcing the right practices to ensure better patient outcomes in real-world scenarios.

Our clients have come to expect such sophisticated and nuanced learning experiences, which not only demand superior processing power and visual fidelity but also present a more extensive engagement with the content. Historically, extended use of some VR headsets has resulted in user discomfort and has been hampered by inadequate battery life. However, Apple Vision Pro marks a significant advancement by addressing these issues head-on.

It provides sustained comfort over a prolonged operational duration and the visual fidelity in all modalities is so exceptional there is no need to remove it to carry out tasks in a real-world environment, allowing users to immerse themselves deeply in the educational experience without interruption.

One of the most compelling testimonials regarding the device arises from seasoned technophiles and newcomers alike, who are uniformly impressed by its exceptionally natural human interface. It delivers an effortlessly engaging user experience that is both inviting and intuitive – comparable to sinking into an expansive, comfortable couch as opposed to perching on a hard kitchen stool. This ease of use is a testament to Apple’s reputation for crafting interfaces with an uncanny knack for user-friendliness. In addition, there is an immediate familiarity inherent in the menu system, which echoes the ubiquitous interface of the iPhone – a device that resides in countless pockets worldwide. This design choice induces a pleasant sense of déjà vu, making the user’s transition to Apple Vision Pro smooth and welcoming. Whatever the reason, the consensus is clear: engaging with Apple Vision Pro is a delightful discovery on the first attempt and remains so on every subsequent use, dissolving yet another barrier to widespread adoption.

Spatial computing is still in its infancy, yet Apple Vision Pro has already made a profound impression. Its potential to revolutionize the market is undeniable, and its impact is expected to be unique. Unlike the mature and saturated mobile market that iPhone entered in 2007, the burgeoning field of spatial computing is ripe for the kind of substantial innovation and dynamic devices this technology brings. It is precisely the kind of catalyst required to invigorate the space, propelling it to new heights. The introduction of Apple Vision Pro enriches the landscape, providing an expanded suite of choices for medical educators. There’s a saying that “a rising tide lifts all boats,” and in the context of spatial computing, the tide is truly swelling. This powerful and intuitive technology is not just an innovation in its own right; it is a beacon that heralds the broader ascent of the entire field.

My team and I are filled with anticipation as we prepare to delve deeper into the capabilities of Apple Vision Pro, aiming to expand the frontiers of simulation technology.

Editor’s Note:

Vicky Smalley is the Chief Technology Officer at FundamentalVR, a company specializing in medical VR simulations that deliver virtual reality haptic ‘flight simulators’ for surgery. With a strong background in AI and a passion for big data, she has contributed significantly to the fields of immersive technology, haptics, and machine learning.

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Medical Device News Magazine provides breaking medical device / biotechnology news. Our subscribers include medical specialists, device industry executives, investors, and other allied health professionals, as well as patients who are interested in researching various medical devices. We hope you find value in our easy-to-read publication and its overall objectives! Medical Device News Magazine is a division of PTM Healthcare Marketing, Inc. Pauline T. Mayer is the managing editor.

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