Welcome to our recurring post, 3D Interactive Tech Talk, highlighting how interactive technology is being used right now and where it’s headed.
Google Cardboard Saves a Baby’s Heart
The parents of Teegan Lexcen were preparing themselves to undergo every parent’s worst nightmare, the loss of their child. Teegan was born with only half a heart and one lung, and doctors essentially sent the newborn home to die, claiming there was nothing they could do for her. In a last ditch effort, a relative reached out to Dr. Redmond Burke in Miami who took the case, planning to use a 3D printout of the heart to visualize the unusual anatomy. The printer, however, was broken – so Dr. Burke decided to try something else he’d been considering: Virtual Reality. He decided this was a good case to implement Google Cardboard – cardboard goggles that you place a phone in to create a VR experience. Using Google Cardboard and Teegan’s x-rays he was able to view the infant’s physical anomalies in a way even 3D printing wouldn’t have allowed. This enabled him to perform surgery with no surprises, and save her life.
VR as the RX for Stress Relief in Hospital
VR has already been looked at as a viable option for medical education and diagnostics, but now Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is exploring what the technology can do for patients as an alternative to pain and stress management options when staying in the hospital. They recently adopted a program that uses VR headsets to bring inpatients to places like Iceland and the deep sea without ever leaving their hospital room.
In addition to relieving stress and pain, VR programs could provide relief to mothers going through long, intense labor. Younger patients have been most enthusiastic about trying the new “therapy,” but the biggest positive effect has been on older patients suffering with Alzheimer’s. And in the big picture, improving the overall happiness of patients can save money on other resources, or decrease the length of hospital stays – which is good news all around.
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