Stryker is using Microsoft’s HoloLens to design operating rooms of the future

Augmented reality has a number of increasingly important applications in a variety of industries, from engineering to retail to interior design. One of the most exciting applications of AR, and the one that promises perhaps the most immediate impact on our lives, is in medicine, where AR can help educate, diagnose, and even treat disease in new and innovative ways.

Microsoft’s HoloLens AR solution is perhaps the most advanced today in terms of becoming a part of the real world, even while it’s not yet a retail option aimed at consumers. Global medical technology company Stryker, which is using HoloLens to redesign the operating room, provides a clear example of the potential of AR in this setting.

Anyone who’s ever worked in an OR knows how complicated they can be. Because they’re used for all kinds of different surgical disciplines, from general surgery to orthopedic, cardiac, and others, the equipment and setup required to meet every need can become incredibly complex and varied. Lighting, tools, equipment, and how patients are oriented in the OR space must be capable of changing at a moment’s notice to accommodate different kinds of surgical procedures.

As a maker of all kinds of products used in the operating room, Stryker has a vested interest in helping hospitals and doctors design efficient and cost-effective surgical suites. The company is using HoloLens to design shared OR rooms that can use holograms to account for all of the people, equipment, and setups imaginable without needing to pull in actual physical examples.

That potentially saves time and money and allows Stryker to more quickly and effectively envision different OR scenarios. Stryker can also utilize 3D to more realistically visualize a finished design and reduce the design errors introduced by much more limited 2D representations.

Other organizations are using HoloLens to affect the future of medicine, such as Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic, which are using Microsoft’s AR solution to better understand and teach human anatomy. Ultimately, it’s likely that one of the first areas where HoloLens and AR in general will make the most impact is in medicine, regardless of how quickly the technology rolls out to consumer applications.

Product Review

The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever. But don't sell your laptop just yet

Apple has unveiled a big redesign for the iPad Pro, slimming down the bezels, adding Face ID, and the ability to attach and charge the Apple Pencil. All of this comes at a high cost however, as the iPad Pro starts at $799.
Home Theater

Don't wake the baby! How to connect headphones to a TV

Do you need to connect a pair of headphones to your TV? Our handy guide will show you how to hook up your headphones in a variety of ways, whether you're using wired headphones, wireless headphones, or gaming headsets.
Cars

Ares turns the Tesla Model S into a two-door roadster with Italian flair

Italian coachbuilder Ares has done what Tesla won't. It's taking a Model S, chopping off the roof, and sending the rear doors back to the parts bin to create a roadster that's ready for the French Riviera.
Gaming

Latest ‘Fortnite’ update gives you a ton of firepower to kill Cube Monsters

Fortnite's 6.22 update has arrived, and it brings with it the Heavy AR weapon, as well as two limited-time modes. The game is also adding uniforms from all 32 NFL teams later this week.
Computing

Microsoft patent highlights a potential VR text input system

A new patent awarded to Microsoft could lead to a new typing method for virtual reality and on Xbox consoles. The virtual radial dial puts letters within easy reach of joystick commands and offers predictive typing, too.
Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift, HTC Vive head-to-head: Prices drop, but our favorite stays the same

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two big names in the virtual-reality arena, but most people can only afford one. Our comparison tells you which is best when you pit the Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive.
Emerging Tech

What’s it like to die? This VR experience puts doctors in a dying man’s shoes

A new VR experience depicts the last days of a lung cancer patient. It is already being used as a teaching tool in hospices and medical schools. But can VR really make us more empathetic?
Computing

Samsung’s HMD Odyssey Plus gives you a clearer view into the virtual world

Samsung's refreshed HMD Odyssey+ promises to make Windows Mixed Reality experiences better by eliminating pixelated views caused by screen doors. The $500 headset also focuses on comfort this year with ergonomic improvements.
Computing

Facebook’s reported Rift 2 cancellation caused a rift with Oculus executive

Facebook may be prioritizing virtual reality on mobile experiences, which may have led to the company canceling development of the Oculus Rift 2. That may have been the cause of Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe quitting.
Photography

Intel’s augmented reality brings Red Bull Rampage into your living room

The extreme mountain biking action of Red Bull Rampage is coming to your living room thanks to the power of augmented reality and 360-degree video that lets fans load a scale replica of the course right in their phones.
Photography

With flip-out lenses, the Vuze XR transforms from 2D to 180-degree VR camera

The Vuze XR is a compact, dual-lens camera with an integrated handle and a neat party trick: The back-to-back lenses can flip forward to transition from 360-degree, two-dimensional video to 180-degree, three-dimensional video.
Computing

Following the Portal, augmented reality glasses may be Facebook’s next step

Following the launch of its Portal smart display, Facebook says it is working on AR glasses, possibly in a move at challenging both Apple and Google and perhaps to rise up in the hardware scene. 
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.
Mobile

From the road to your wrist, see how Android has evolved over the past 10 years

Android started out as just a mobile operating system, but 10 years in it's pretty much everywhere. Check out our round-up of all the different Android variations that have cropped up so far, and what might be coming in the future.