While the uses of virtual reality headsets are more geared toward entertainment (video gaming or movies, for example) it can have some uses beyond that — like saving people’s lives. A 4 month old baby born with only 1 lung and half a heart is getting a new lease on life after doctors in Miami, Florida used Google Cardboard to assess her issues prior to performing surgery.
Doctors took the child’s 2D MRI scans and converted them into 3D stereoscopic images where they able to view them in virtual reality using an iPhone placed inside Google Cardboard. According to cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Redmond Burke, it was like “standing in the operating room” and allowed them to examine the tiny heart and plan a form of entry 2 weeks before surgery ever began.
“With VR I could see her chest wall as well as her heart. From there I could see that the standard incision would be fine. Right there the first big hurdle was crossed.”
After a 7 hour surgery, the baby was stitched up and received the best Christmas present ever: the gift of life. Dr. Burke, who’s passion is to merge medical science with new tech, says his next project will involve raising awareness about the uses of VR imaging in the medical field. Just goes to show you that you don’t always need the most expensive tech to get the job done.