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The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Virtual and Augmented Reality Is Revolutionizing the Health Care Sector

a photo of a group of doctors using virtual and augmented reality technology during a surgical operation

With video game and headset sales, the virtual and augmented reality space exceeded over $1 billion in sales in 2017. This number may seem like a tremendous figure. But by 2025, the health care industry alone is expected to spend over $5 billion in virtual and augmented reality solutions. What accounts for this sudden shift? Top augmented reality companies are demonstrating the incredible benefits these new Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies can have in this sector. And increasingly, health care stakeholders are embracing their potential.

From patient education to medical student training and operating room applications, virtual and augmented reality is making a significant impact. It seems that the sky is the limit, and top augmented reality companies continue to introduce innovative uses for this technology. However, while current virtual and augmented reality applications offer many advantages, some barriers remain. The question is whether top augmented reality companies can convince both health care providers and the public that these innovations are worthwhile.

a photo quote of Andrew Finlayson in relation to the rise of virtual and augmented reality technologies
Andrew Finlayson weighs in on the use of virtual and augmented reality in the health care sector.

Understanding Virtual and Augmented Reality Applications

While video game users may well appreciate virtual and augmented reality, this may not be the case for everyone. In essence, virtual reality immerses users in entirely new “virtual” environments. Augmented reality, on the other hand, transposes virtual elements into existing reality. Both offer the potential for health care applications. And top augmented reality companies are betting these technologies will soon be pervasive. With a variety of visual overlays, haptic feedback, and sensory projections, these technologies offer incredible experiences.

Significant advances as of late involve the hardware associated with virtual and augmented reality. Specifically, headsets and eyewear that utilize virtual and augmented reality are much more common in the marketplace today. Some popular products offered by top augmented reality companies include VR headsets like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Examples of common AR headsets today are Microsoft’s HoloLens and Magic Leap. As prices for these virtual and augmented reality devices fall, they are becoming increasingly attractive to other industries like health care.

a photo quote of Josh Sackman in relation to the rise of virtual and augmented reality technologies
Significant advances involve the hardware associated with virtual and augmented reality.

Top Augmented Reality Companies and Startups in Health Care

To date, most virtual and augmented reality technologies have been used in the entertainment industry. But increasingly, other sectors are realizing their value. These sectors include not only health care but also manufacturing, retail, and education. For health care specifically, virtual and augmented reality offers new ways to educate patients and providers alike. Similarly, top augmented companies now offer applications that make surgery safer, while offering new therapies.

The following are some of these top augmented reality companies that are revolutionizing the field.

  • VSI – VSI stands for Virtual Surgery Intelligence. It provides augmented reality imaging for surgeons before and after operations. As a result, this technology promotes better safety and can serve as a tool for surgeon training.
  • AppliedVR – Among the top augmented reality companies, AppliedVR provides virtual content to assist with pain relief. Likewise, the company is actively involved in clinical research to validate clinical therapeutic responses.
  • Vivid Vision – This virtual and augmented reality startup provides an application used to treat various visual disorders. Such disorders include lazy eyes, poorly aligned eyes, and eyes that fail to move together.
  • Klick Health – A virtual and augmented reality platform called HealthVoyager emerged from a collaboration between this company and Boston Children’s Hospital. The application offers HIPPA-compliant 3D visual tours inside one’s body and is ideal for pediatric patient education.
  • Fisher Wallace Laboratories – As one of the top augmented reality companies, this entity produces a VR headset called Kortex® that helps manage stress and improve sleep. The company combines brain stimulation with VR to create its therapeutic effects without drugs.
  • Psious – This virtual and augmented reality startup uses VR content to assist patients with anxiety disorders. VR content is created for specific patients in conjunction with their health care providers.
  • EON Reality – The company offers immersive content with virtual and augmented reality to facilitate training and education for healthcare providers. It offers a subscription-based platform open to everyone.
  • Floreo – This virtual and augmented reality company provides a collaborative system to enhance independence among children with autism. The product involves the child interacting with a phone-based VR system with a supervising adult.
  • Rendever – This company is one of many innovative top augmented reality companies that are beginning to explore technologies for the elderly. Their products offer cognitive stimulation and virtual experiences for older adults outside their existing care environments.
a photo of the company logos of other bold companies working towards the use of virtual and augmented reality technologies in the health sector
A number of top augmented reality companies are making bold moves with virtual and augmented reality technologies.

Challenges to Overcome 

Given the innovative solutions provided by top augmented reality companies, one would assume these would be commonplace in health care today. But a few obstacles remain in place that is slowing widespread adoption. For one, there remains a lack of high-value virtual and augmented reality content. Likewise, the hardware is not only expensive but often uncomfortable to the user. And most importantly, except for video game users, training and experience with these new technologies are limited. These are areas that top augmented reality companies are trying to address.

Despite these challenges, it is only a matter of time before virtual and augmented reality is commonly utilized in health care. The advantages that these technologies offer in education, diagnostics, and therapeutics are tremendous. And the potential for better patient outcomes, enhanced patient safety, and less risk will drive these into the mainstream. Given the number of bold businesses already invested in virtual and augmented reality solutions, this case seems inevitable. Like medications and lab work, virtual and augmented reality offerings will soon be the norm.


For more good reads on Bold Business’ series on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, read these stories on Nanotechnology Applications in Manufacturing, IoT in Construction, and 3D Printing And Additive Manufacturing Technologies.

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