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Download the new XRDC Healthcare Report and see how AR/VR is changing medicine!

Heads up, devs: Today Informa, organizer of the Game Developers Conference (GDC) and XRDC, is proud to present a very special second edition of the AR/VR Healthcare Report!

It’s free to download and packed with useful insights, offering a concise overview of how leading experts believe virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality technologies are shaping the state and future of healthcare.

Learn from experts like veteran game developer and former Chief Game Designer at Google Noah Falstein, Dolphin Swim Club founder Marijke Sjollema, and USC Intititute for Creative Technologies R&D director Arno Hartholt about cutting-edge topics like how VR is being used in healing, , drug discovery, and neuroscience.

For more information and to access the full report, download it for free here!

This topic is important enough that at XRDC 2019 there will be an entire track of talks dedicated to how these technologies are revolutionizing healthcare by opening up new avenues of healing, improving the quality of care and reducing the risks and costs of treatment.

XRDC organizers surveyed some top minds in healthcare, technology, academia, and game development about how these technologies are being used to augment treatments, improve the quality of palliative care, assist in therapy, and more.

To give you a taste of what's in store when you download the full (free!) report, here's an excerpt featuring the insight of veteran game developer and current Mindmaze SVP Noah Falstein.

Recognizing the need for good design in medical-grade VR experiences

Tell us about yourself and your recent work in AR/VR

I'm a game designer and producer working with several companies on games and health, many of which include some AR/VR work. I'm currently SVP of Content for Mindmaze, a Swiss company that is doing some exciting work in rehabilitation using games, VR, and Haptics.  Unfortunately my most interesting work in XR this year is on upcoming products I can't yet talk about.

What excites you most about AR/VR in 2019?

I'm pleased to see that the tools for VR and AR keep improving, and that there are both consumer products like Oculus Quest and more expensive solutions with eye tracking and higher-res displays that will be good for B2B applications.

What do you think is now the biggest challenge to realizing AR/VR’s potential in the healthcare industry?

The long testing cycle.  Most game and enterprise software that works well has lots of fast iterative development and testing loops.  

Medical applications often need much more extensive, long-term tests (particularly if you want FDA clearance) and that can be extremely expensive and mean that the products may need to be implemented on the hardware that was cutting edge 2 or 3 years earlier.  There are exceptions, but some of the most impactful innovations will require those long testing cycles. 

What’s one cool AR/VR tool or application you think people should know about?

I have been advising StoryUp, and their Healium VR/AR product is very innovative and fun.  They use the Muse headband for EEG sensing.  Normally consumer-quality EEG can be unreliable as your brow muscles can swamp out the brain signal - but as Healium is focused on relaxation, they encourage a positive feedback loop where the more the user relaxes those muscles, the better they do - and the better the EEG signal becomes.  

Coupled with a beautiful iPhone-based AR application, I think it's one of the most creative, yet scientifically based relaxation therapies I've seen.

How has your experience in game development influenced your AR/VR work, and your expectations for the AR/VR market?

Working in the health/games overlap, I'm struck by how few companies take the trouble to do both of those things very well. AR/VR is yet another layer, and to get gameplay, AR/VR functionality, and the medical components all working at top quality and complementing each other is extremely challenging.  

The key I've found is not forcing an ill-fitting game solution onto a medical training or treatment option.  When they are carefully aligned together, it can be great, but it takes a lot of cross-disciplinary collaboration to make it work.  It reminds me of the work I did at LucasArts and Dreamworks, getting people from the film and interactive industries to work together and trust each other's unique expertise.

How did you learn to get people from those two different industries to work together?

The short answer is, "trial and error".  There were many interesting insights, from language (being "in development" means very different things for games and movies) to paradigms (show, don't tell becomes do, don't show) to communications (at DreamWorks in 1995, all the game people depended on email and rarely used phones, Hollywood folks were the opposite).  

I learned the most from my close association with [writer, director, and producer] Hal Barwood on Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis; we each taught each other a lot about our respective fields.  

Register for XRDC 2019 early at a discounted rate!

XRDC 2019 will take place October 14th and 15th at the beautiful Fort Mason Festival Pavilion in San Francisco, a warm and convivial venue where leading innovators, educators, and decision-makers can gather to trade insights and build relationships. 

For more details about XRDC, which is produced by organizers of the Game Developers Conference, check out the official XRDC website. You can also subscribe to regular XRDC updates via emailTwitter and Facebook.

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