Watch the World’s First Virtual Reality Surgery… Minus the Virtual!

Well, for all you creepy snoopers and curious geeks out there – oh, and the occasional medical student – a new company called Medical Realities launched an awesome new feature on April 14. They promise anyone with internet connection a chance to watch a live broadcast of a surgery… in virtual reality!

Well… not exactly “virtual”, though they may think it is.

See, Dr. Shafi Ahmed, surgeon and co-founder of Medical Realities, recently filmed a routine surgery in London on a patient in his 70s, as Dr. Ahmed removed a tumor from the patient’s colon. Mind you, the surgery was filmed in 360-degree view with a camera that was mounted above the surgery table. However, filming an event in a 360-degree view doesn’t make it “virtual reality”. Not by a far cry!

While this interesting concept was supposed to be a “virtual reality” experience, it’s a mere reality, at best – and Dr. Ahmed may want to consider getting a camera that zoomed in better. VR would mean the footage was computer generation, and this wasn’t. Also, VR would give the viewer the freedom to move around the space and interact with object, and obviously this didn’t. Moreover, Medical Realities released an app on smartphones that was available for any to download and watch the surgery being broadcasted in stereo vision. Again, the guys at Medical Realities misused Google, as the footage depicted the same image show to each eye.

Granted, Dr. Ahmed’s concept is quite interesting, and would be really useful! He even says he wants to use this technology to help medical students in underserved countries learn how to do surgery – much like how they would in operating theaters. However, we would advise Dr. Ahmed and his team to continue researching “virtual reality”; one day, they might just get the concept!