Spine and heart surgeons will use augmented reality (AR) to simplify complex procedures. Autistic children will get relief from sensory overload with a calming virtual reality (VR) system.
These and other scenarios are made possible by Israeli innovations tapping into the tremendous potential of AR and VR for healing and wellbeing.
The methods are similar: AR superimposes static and moving images to enhance an actual environment, while VR immerses the viewer in a simulated three-dimensional environment.
“Israel is on the frontlines in some areas of this technology,” says Orit Elion, a professor of physical therapy at Israel’s Ariel University, which hosted a conference last year to strengthen cooperation between AR and VR developers and researchers for health applications.
Elion helped develop a VR-based tele-rehab service at the Gertner Institute of Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, now used across Israel to enable monitored home physical or occupational therapy sessions for patients living far from healthcare centers.
“There aren’t so many programs in the world like this — a service that has no geographic boundaries,” Elion tells ISRAEL21c.
Currently, she is investigating how VR training can help with balance and fall prevention in the elderly. “VR is a dream for that, because you can manipulate the environment with all kinds of visual input,” she says.
Here are other examples of Israeli AR and VR in the health sector.