With VR technology becoming more accessible, it’s no longer just used in high-end gaming. Entrepreneurs have found several uses for virtual and augmented reality in healthcare, from a training tool to helping treat patients.
Once envisioned as a gaming platform, virtual reality technology has been quickly adopted in the healthcare world. Medical students are using them to brush up on their surgery skills, while surgeons are using them to plan for complex procedures. Some clinicians are studying their use in pain relief. Chemists are even donning the goggles, where they’re used to better visualize molecules in drug development.
It’s still early days for VR in healthcare, but the headsets may soon find their way into operating rooms and clinics. Below, we’ve listed a few startups that have found creative uses for this technology.
CEO: Tej Tadi
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Headquarters: Lausanne, Switzerland
Mindmaze uses VR headsets and brain imaging to help stroke victims recover after an injury. Its technology has also been used to relieve phantom pain for amputees. Founded by neuroscientist and engineer Tej Tadi, the company soared to unicorn valuation in 2018, after closing a $100 million funding round. The company said it would use the new funds to expand into new markets, and begin researching the use of its technology for Parkinson’s patients.
CEO: Justin Barad
Headquarters: Palo Alto
Osso VR is combining its software with Oculus Rift headsets to train surgeons and medical students on orthopedic procedures. The company’s founder and CEO, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, hopes that it will be an effective tool to train surgeons more quickly, making it easier to adopt new procedures in the long run. Osso VR also gives an assessment of users’ surgical skills, with its clients using the technology to get new surgeons proficient enough for hands-on training. So far, the startup has raised $2 million in funding from Signalfire.
CEO: Nissan Eimelech
Augmedics says its augmented reality headsets can give surgeons “x-ray vision.” Its headsets, which consist of AR glasses and a camera, are used to help surgeons visualize a patient’s spinal anatomy during procedures, making it easier to install spinal implants. Augmedics was founded in Israel, but is entering the U.S. market after it received 510(k) clearance from the Food and Drug Administration in December. The company raised $8.3 million in 2017 from AO Invest, a firm that invests in orthopedics startups.
CEO: Moty Avisar
As fighter pilots use simulators to prepare for an upcoming mission, Surgical Theater is hoping to do the same for surgery. The company creates personalized maps for surgeons using data from patients’ CT and MRI scans. Surgical Theater has struck partnerships with several hospitals, including Children’s National Health System and UCSF Benioff National Children’s Hospital. The company raised a $9 million funding round in 2015, led by HTC Corp.
CEO: Eran Orr
XRHealth is combining two buzzy sectors: telehealth and virtual reality. The startup will open its first virtual reality telehealth clinic in March, which gives patients access to VR apps intended to help with stress, chronic pain and other conditions. While patients use its headsets, clinical staff can see what they’re viewing and adjust the setting remotely. XRHealth also manages the back-end, including insurance billing, and sending clinicians and payers a report on app use. The company says its services are covered by Medicare and most major insurance providers.
Source: MedCity News