Friday, March 18, 2016

360 degrees of neurological amazingness

It was an ordinary day, and I was looking at my Facebook feed, and a friend had posted a video he made while snowboarding. Being on vacation, and a little bored, I clicked on it expecting to see a snowboarding epic move or an epic fall or something. What I saw was the guy's mitten and the trail ahead. Not that cool, I thought, until I touched the screen and panned around. He had captured a 360 video that the user can pan around. I could look at the sky, the trees reflection in his goggles, his board, or the trail ahead. It was very cool.

Why am I talking about this on a medical education post? Because, I looked and these cameras are now affordable. The one he bought is a little over $300. From a quick web search, there are now a bunch of camera options to shoot in 360. Couple that with virtual reality headsets which are also dramatically decreasing in price, and there are a lot of opportunities to develop medical educational materials in ways never possible before.

Here's a couple of examples from Mythbusters diving with sharks, and USA Today flying with the Blue Angels. You may have already seen videos like this where you can pan and zoom, or if you have VR googles, you can just look around.

Imagine showing patient videos to students where the student actually feels like they are in the room with you as you examine a patient. We share videos in movement disorders frequently of unusual tremors and movements.Imagine being able to look like you would in an actual patient visit at a life-size patient. Imagine if you couple this with augmented reality programs that can allow the learners to interact with the patients, and we are not that far from simulation situations that truly do simulate real life.

Affordable 360 cameras are now on the market. Couple with more affordable VR headsets, and the possibilities for VR or augmented reality to teach medical students has opened way up. Now it's up to you all to go out there and buy some toys, and start making cool stuff.

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