Technology Record - Issue 22: Autumn 2021

174 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om F E ATUR E : M I C ROSOF T HOLOL ENS HoloLens in The healthcare industry is moving away from legacy infrastructure and manual processes towards a more modern future. Microsoft’s David Rhew and Rody Senner explain how mixed reality is driving this transformation BY E L LY YAT E S - ROB E R T S P harmaceutical organisations are discover- ing multiple applications for mixed reality solutions. They can remotely share their science to accelerate discovery and develop- ment, support clinical trials, and train workers, all while reducing procedural non-compliance and increasing yields. Medical technology firms are using it to do audits and inspections remotely, make staff safer and more productive, and drive greater remote sales and service in times when travel has been restricted. The technology has even trickled down to healthcare providers, who have used it treat patients during the pandemic, and train staff while coping with an increasing number of affected patients. “Mixed reality puts the human at the cen- tre in a new way for technology,” says Rody Senner, North America mixed reality sales lead at Microsoft. “We immerse ourselves in it by stepping through the screen where our digital world is now spatially placed around us, while we remain present in our physical world. This blending of the two is at the heart of mixed reality. And this immersion is now even more apparent, with intuitive ways to use voice, eye and hand tracking while being ‘heads up and hands free’ in our work, giving us the ability to empower those on the front line, who are criti- cal to the healthcare sector.” According to Senner, one of the major benefits of using mixed reality technologies in health- care is being able to experience spatial concepts in 3D. “Most technologies today are based in 2D, so there is a cognitive load for translating natively 3D concepts – such as the human body – from a 2D CT scan back into 3D,” she explains. “It introduces an opportunity for error. In addition, the 3D basis of mixed reality creates significant opportunities by overlaying relevant data onto real-world images. It ushers in a new wave of computing, one that has the potential to be the biggest wave we have seen yet.” Research suggests that not only is the health- care market aware of these new technologies and the benefits they deliver, it is adopting them at accelerating rates. According to the Global Mixed Reality in Healthcare Market report for 2020-2026, the global healthcare market is expected to grow by 10 times, and Grand View Research found that it is projected to be the top industry for growth in augmented reality, in its Augmented Reality Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report from February 2021. Despite this, there are barriers to adoption. “While costs are of course an important factor in healthcare, mixed reality tools like HoloLens can be deployed in very cost-efficient ways,” says Dr David Rhew, chief medical officer at Microsoft. “Not all users need to wear a headset, for example. healthcare