Virtual reality

Last revised by Amanda Er on 2 Jun 2022

Advancements of technology have enabled various simulated reality devices, including virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Both technologies provide stereoscopic and three-dimensional (3D) immersion of a simulated object. VR simulates a virtual environment while AR overlays simulated objects into the real world background 4.

This technology can be used to display volumetric medical images, such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allowing for a more accurate representation of the three-dimensional nature of anatomical structures, thus beneficial in diagnosis, education and procedural planning 6.

In radiology, interacting with volumetric images in a virtual space with a stereoscopic view has several advantages over the conventional monoscopic 2D slices on a flat panel. 

  • perception of depth and distance 1,3,5
  • natural free movement in virtual space 1,3
  • consistent images and cancels variable environment lightings 2

VR has also been adopted as part of radiography education with the virtual environment replacing or adding to the traditional simulation learning for students prior to and during clinical placements 7. Students can perform imaging on a virtual patient in the VR suite using VR headsets and hand controllers, allowing them to learn through deliberate practice. The VR software also then allows students to make mistakes and learn from them for deeper understanding 7

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