From January 28th till 31st , the sixth edition of "Medicine Meets Virtual Reality" took place in San Diego. The proceedings of this conference are currently available and display a lavish image of virtual reality implementation in the telemedical field. From all over the world, no less than seventy-four contributions have been brought together for this publication by participants with an academic or an industrial background, and residing predominantly in the USA, Europe and Japan.
In the preface, the editors describe the evolution of medicine as a long and conscious growth "from alchemy to art". At the same time, they put a finger on today's sore spot: the role of the managers and their lack of financial support. Virtual reality merely constitutes an ingenious tool in the hands of the creative physician and researcher as healers to the benefit of all patients. So why not offer them the means to perform their art? The opening chapter by Dr. Richard M. Satava offers an alternative to accelerate the process of technology transfer. The magic password to success is cooperative efforts shared between academia, industry and government to avoid the "Valley of Death" in funding research and final transition to production.
The published papers cover a large variety of applications, ranging from virtual simulators over 3-D visualisation and robot aided surgery to Internet-based technologies. No part of the human body is safe for the scientific hunger of the researchers: virtual reality techniques are performed on the abdomen, blood vessels, brain, eyes, face, inner organs, jaw, knee, shoulder, and spine. Several studies also report on psychological and psychiatric virtual practises, in order to treat various sorts of phobia or physical dysfunction due to mental causes. A few articles deal with telemedicine experiences in specific environments, like hospital, prison, or learning, training and educational facilities.
The scientific contents of the contributions is richly illustrated with images, photographs and tables to enhance the comprehensibility of the treated items. The interested reader should be able to obtain a fairly clear overview of the virtual reality potential in medical applications, without having to be an expert on the subject. An author index has been provided as well. The conference proceedings form the 50th volume in the series "Studies in Health Technology and Informatics".
- Medicine Meets Virtual Reality - Art, Science, Technology: Healthcare (R)evolution(tm).
- Edited by James D. Westwood, Helene M. Hoffman, Don Stredney and Suzanne J. Weghorst.
- Published by IOS/Ohmsha Press - Amsterdam/Berlin/Oxford/Tokyo/Washington, DC
- 1998 - 409 p.
- ISSN 0926-9630