In addition to the promises of unlimited entertainment and pleasure, Metaverse will bring great innovations in many areas that are indispensable for humanity. The health sector is one of them.
Metaverse, one of today’s popular concepts, briefly refers to a virtual reality that exists beyond reality. Leaving aside the pleasures presented to us individually, the metaverse universe actually offers many conveniences in real life. Studies on the metaverse started by different research institutions have been going on for many years. The concept of four types of metadata warehouses was introduced by The Acceleration Studies Foundation (ASF), one of the first to analyze data on the subject; augmented reality, life diary, mirror world and virtual reality.
With these meta warehouses, is it possible that the future lifestyle, medical practices, including education will largely shift towards the metaverse? Let’s look for the answer together.
The first concept we encounter is “augmented reality”. Here, a virtual environment is created using location-based technologies and networks. For example; To the person wearing the T-shirt called “Cruscope’s Virtuali-Tee”, the student holding the smartphone correctly can see both the size of the organs and their neighborhood with each other. At the center established for spine surgery at a university in Seoul, algorithms such as which direction, how deep and how fast the screwing used in spine surgeries should be sent are experienced.
Another example is its application to real surgery. The operated areas are usually narrow due to small incisions, hemorrhages and mixed due to deteriorated tissues. A few months ago, a successful spinal surgery was performed with the ability to simulate the locations of all anatomical structures after the previously acquired radiological images were placed in a virtual glasses. The gamma knife, which has been used in the treatment of some brain lesions for a long time in neurosurgery practice, also works in the light of the same principles.
First, the lesion is mapped in the brain and the treatment is completed in accordance with these coordinates without incision.
Another data store of Metaverse is the “life log” called lifelogging. Examples of this are smart watches and mobile phone applications that measure our activities such as our steps, heart rate, and daily water consumption. “Personalized” medical treatment, supplementary food and drug recommendations based on the life diary will also take place in our lives in the not-too-distant future. Again, in an artificial intelligence system implemented in Korea, personalized trainings came to the fore by measuring not only biological data but also students’ learning abilities and styles.
The third component is the mirror world. It is aimed to gain experience by doing all real-world activities here. Digital labs and virtual training classrooms are classic examples of the mirror world. A good scientific example was carried out on the platform called Foldit. Participants from around the world were provided with collaborative work on a protein chain online at the University of Washington. Participants who scored points with the correct placement of the amino acid sequences that make up the protein together created a correct protein that can be used in the treatment of AIDS.
This discovery, which was achieved with 60 thousand participants in a 10-day period, found its place in a medical journal. The concept of virtual classroom, on the other hand, was applied by most people on Zoom, Teams and similar platforms during the COVID pandemic.
Virtual reality, on the other hand, is perhaps the most popular aspect of the metaverse. Virtual reality technology includes advanced 3D graphics, avatars and real-time communication tools. For example, in Zepeto, which is designed as a game, various activities other than games can be carried out in different environments through avatars.
Surgery, which is difficult to encounter in reality due to high cost and risk, can also be tried beforehand with advanced virtual simulation. A striking example of the realization of the event is that a robot programmed with virtual reality performed the first laparoscopic surgical operation without human intervention in the past months. Although this development is limited in a pig for now, it is important in terms of creating a standard operating procedure by eliminating the skill and experience difference of the surgeon in sensitive procedures.
If we come to our question in the title; Metaverse Faculty of Medicine will one day be possible in the light of all these data theoretically in terms of both education and practice. However, in such a case, we have no data on what can be encountered when you graduate without touching people. It may be possible for the student to get bored while performing a virtual surgery, cause complications, and create new techniques for himself, but in real life he will not have these qualities. Standardized surgeries and treatments will also be possible, but there will also be times when this standardization is helpless in the face of the important saying of medicine; Finally, it should be said, “There is a patient, not a disease.”
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