Mixed reality offers glimpse of medical future

A group of University of Dundee students have won prestigious studentships with world-leading medical technology company Medtronic after developing new learning tools in augmented reality.

Seven students from a range of disciplines have been offered studentships with the company, after completing a three-month project which saw more than 50 students design and build new medical software and teaching tools through the Microsoft HoloLens. The HoloLens is the first self-contained, holographic computer, which allows users to interact with holograms in mixed reality.

Professor Tracey Wilkinson, joint programme lead with Nicolas Denervaud from Medtronic, said, “The aim of the project was to design and create innovative augmented reality apps for medical education and training, using the HoloLens device as a training tool.

“We have a large number of active, fertile, creative minds in our university who are very comfortable with modern technology. Allowing our students to develop their ideas with support from Medtronic has led to immersive and fascinating learning.”

Nicolas said, “The Medtronic team were really impressed with what had been achieved in a very short period, and one of the prototypes is going to be demonstrated at the European ENT congress in October.

“The company are now sponsoring seven summer internships, giving several of the students an opportunity to develop their ideas further. This is an important project for us, in our effort to develop new teaching modalities, with the aim to help Health professionals deliver improved patient outcomes.

“Our interns will be tasked with bringing an educational app in anatomy and ENT surgery to completion so that it is ready for use by trainee health professionals.”

The company has also agreed to run the project again next year, this time over six months to allow more time for development.

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