Thanks to technological advances in recent years, Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality (AR, VR and MR, collectively called XR) have become solid, continuously advancing technologies with the potential to revolutionize health care. In close collaboration with technical VUB research groups and industry, the C4N-XR Research group aims to stimulate the development of clinical implementation ideas – focused on but not limited to treatment of neurological disease – and also to provide a platform for clinical validation of the technical developments.
A main focus of this group is the development and validation of augmented Reality assistance in invasive (surgical and non-surgical) procedures.
A proof of concept demonstrating practical use of AR in surgery was successfully developed in conjunction with the VUB ETRO Research group in 2018. For continued and more thorough development, a consortium of industrial and academic partners was formed. This consortium created the SARA-project (Surgical Augmented Reality Assistance), which received funding as an IMEC-ICON project in 2018.(https://www.imec-int.com/en/icon) SARA aims to create and clinically validate an Augmented Reality application for the Microsoft Hololens that can present anatomical imaging data, obtained from CT or MRI imaging, as a hologram in a fixed position in the 3d space and correctly registered to the physical patient, supplemented by additional practical information (trajectories, approach angles, etc).
Besides SARA, several other approaches to implementation of AR within health care are being explored as well.