A part of the global IT market is expected to reach the value of more than $1.5 billion by 2020. And Augmented Reality (AR) could become the primary driver of a $108 billion VR/AR market by 2021, with AR taking the chief part of $83 billion.

Augmented reality in healthcare and education has wide-reaching implications, and it can dramatically transform these sectors. It’s 2017, and we’ve only scratched the surface of AR potential benefits. In this article, we are going to look at how and why Augmented Reality technology is already used to make existing educational and healthcare processes more effective.

What is Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is a technology that allows adding information (text, pictures, videos, etc.) to the physical world in real time using a mobile device. AR content can be easily accessed by scanning or viewing a trigger image with a mobile AR app. Videos, 3D models, games or animations can come alive via your smartphone, PC or wearable tech (e.g. smart glasses).

How is augmented reality used in healthcare?

As a multibillion-dollar industry, global healthcare is perfect for investing in innovations. In recent years, AR has been (greatly) transforming medicine. Some of the great technological inventions have fundamentally changed the way patients are now diagnosed and treated; moreover, those advancements have significantly improved the way in which medicos are educated and trained. According to the recent Fortune’s post, medical students already use augmented reality to study patients in 3D.

Current uses of augmented reality apps in medicine include:

  • Training and education
  • Diagnostic medicine
  • Complex and invasive surgery
  • Patient care and aftercare process
  • Healthcare consulting
  1. Training and Education

Teaching anatomy, surgical procedures etc. is not an easy task. However, Augmented Reality medicine apps allow medical students to study the human body and better visualize health issues. AR apps display better how the human body operates by overlaying anatomical details on a 3D-printed human skeleton. While it’s crucial that medical students understand a theory, they must also understand its real life applications. New AR technology allows them to access real-time data and patient information faster than ever before, which greatly improves the learning process,  and then diagnose patients correctly.

Anatomy 4D human body AR app
AR apps are also important for patient education, specifically when it comes to effective treatment and prevention. AR medical and educational applications can now give better insight into the impact of particular diseases. By utilizing AR technology, patients and doctors alike can make more informed healthcare decisions that lead to a better standard of medical care.

  1. Diagnostic Medicine

One of the most outstanding healthcare educational technologies is Microsoft’s HoloLens. In addition to being a great platform for the learning of human anatomy, this device can help diagnose patients more efficiently (by overlaying imagery like CT scans onto a human body).

The real-time data can make medical diagnostics much more effective as doctors take advantage of the accurate visual information. It’s become easier for medical staff to compare and document changes in patient’s health over a period of time.

  1. Complex and Invasive Surgeries

AR can dramatically improve the quality of treatment provided to patients. For instance, risks associated with invasive surgery (and other more complex procedures) can be reduced if the most relevant information is displayed to the surgeon. For this purpose, invasive surgery has always required monitors in the operating room. However now, with the development of AR technology, a surgeon can simply wear smart glasses and stay focused on the task. 

Heart 3D model augmented reality app

With the vital statistics kept in their eyeline, surgeons are not distracted. Devices like HoloLens are able to project digital scenes on what we see and prepare doctors for difficult procedures. This is extremely important for the quality of care provided to patients. Augmented reality medical apps minimize the risk of making mistakes by overlaying an enlarged 3D version of vital organs, which increases the field of view.

  1. Patient Care and Aftercare

AR technology is able to improve patient care and aftercare phases. Very often patients need to continue with certain treatments after leaving a hospital. For some people, it can be pretty challenging to keep track of the “schedule” and the amount of medication that has to be taken. While some patients still prefer using ordinary reminder apps, augmented reality apps are also able to act as personal assistants and remind the patient to take medicine or to perform a set of exercises.

Moreover, the medical staff is also able to manage records and access information to ensure the patients receive the best possible care. They don’t need to manually feed the data into the system. Wearable devices like Google Glass are being used for registering important healthcare details. This facilitates management and minimizes the chances of human error.

  1. Healthcare consulting

Google Glass technology can also help new mothers with breastfeeding. A few years ago, Google Glass conducted a trial together with the Australian Breastfeeding Association. Their telephone counselors were “watching through the eyes of mothers” while the mothers were breastfeeding at home. This helped mommies receive expert help without putting down the baby.

Augmented Reality in Education

AR differs from virtual reality in that it doesn’t take you out of the real world. One of the most advanced forms of AR technology is the use of visual signals that push software to action. For example, an education app can use a graphic on a certain page as an anchor to show animations. It may display a 3D model of the recognized picture, which can be spun around, zoomed and explored in detail. Rendering in 3D model of anything that may be difficult to visualize can help students get a deeper understanding of the subject.

One of the easy-to-use AR learning apps that demonstrates pictures “going alive” is Quiver. Like many AR apps, after installation, you’ll have to download trigger images from the official website. Those images, when scanned, activate the AR experience and let students interact with 3D figures.

However, the most impactful AR technology in learning is interactive. When students are physically engaged with their learning materials, they become more involved mentally and more motivated. During interactive AR process, the camera captures not only the classroom but also the students / their movements in it.

Top 3 reasons to use Augmented Reality in Education:

  • Interactive lessons

By integrating augmented reality into lectures, you can let your students participate. Enable them to access models through AR applications and get them excited about learning.

  • Cost-effective and portable learning materials

Getting numerous physical models, tons of detailed illustrations and huge boxes of practical materials is by far not easy/is a burden. They are not easily portable and very cost-consuming.Besides, all the stuff is getting worn down sooner or later. With AR, firstly, there is no need to invest in physical materials. Secondly, students can access and interact with the course materials from their own devices at any suitable time.

  • Impressive presentations

With AR impressive presentations, the audience’s attention will be captured straight away. The presenter can engage the students and reinforce the concepts they learn during lectures.

Another terrific educational app from DAQRI is Elements 4D. This app allows combining of various elements to see chemistry in action. Just print out and assemble blocks to make them trigger images and check your students’ reaction.

Chemical elements AR app

Augmented reality apps create astonishing learning experience along with endless educational possibilities. The perspective of AR usage for education process is amazing – the technology makes the classroom environment transformative and more engaging. It becomes much easier to explain abstract and complicated concepts.

Be it education, 3D modeling or healthcare, AR app development promises to bring a whole new world to us. AR radically changes the way people interact with things and objects in everyday lives and is (still) set to make a considerable impact in these fields in the coming years.