Day 17: Clinical Holoportation

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Ravensbourne University in Greenwich, London (https://www.ravensbourne.ac.uk/) and meet with the innovative team at DoubleMe (www.doubleme.me).

They have taken a fascinating approach to the challenge of Holoportation – the use of virtual, augmented and mixed reality to allow for users to virtually occupy the same space and interact in 3 dimensions while miles apart.

What makes James Edward Marks, Marius Matesan, Albert Kim and Chris Szkoda special is that they use affordable hardware – the Microsoft Kinect – and their bespoke software to allow anyone to create a holoportal. This means that the entire space it records can be viewed by a person with a Hololens. If you set up two holoportals, you can have an interactive experience.

The use cases are wide and mind-boggling. I focus on the healthcare aspects, so I immediately started to imagine what it might be like for a specialist to holoconsult with a patient, or advise a practitioner in the field. The holoportation isn’t limited to just people: you can also add 3d models, and perhaps even users from within VR allowing true mixed reality interactions. I visualise an Orthopaedic surgeon sharing a 3d model of a diseased joint and the propsed procedure ahead of an operation, or a GP speaking with a patient about their mental health while a 3rd person attends as support.

The current setup is a little lo-fi and the resolution isn’t perhaps good enough for detailed work, but even at this early stage I sense it is perfectly capable of allowing for clinical consultations. The question is then whether holoportation offers benefit over face-to-face, or teleconsultations?

This venture is also connected to a 5G testbed, so the next steps are to build a Holoportal at The Fusebox in Brighton, a co-working creative space for immersive tech that also happens to be a 5G site. With any luck I’ll be consulting by May.

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