Advancing VR Into Patient Care

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded $4.75M to the University of Maryland SOM (UMSOM) to establish the new Center for Medical Innovations in Extended Reality to be known as MIXR.

MIXR will help accelerate the development of virtual reality, augmented reality, and other immersive medical technologies for use in clinical trials and eventually be used widespread in medical care.

UMSOM faculty are partnering with the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) computer scientists and University of Michigan physician-scientists to establish MIXR. They will also receive expertise and funding from Google, Microsoft, Meta (formerly known as Facebook) plus Sony, Magic Leap, Health2047, GigXR, Brainlab, and develop, test, and certify extended reality technologies for use in medicine and healthcare.

Amitabh Varshney PhD, Professor and Dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at UMCP along with his colleagues will soon unveil a “HoloCamera” studio, where more than 300 immersive cameras are fused together to create a unique 3-D visualization technology . The aim is to create a holographic type of image to assist in the training of healthcare practitioners conducting intricate medical procedures.

The NSF award is part of NSF’s Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC) program, designed to jumpstart breakthrough research by enabling close and sustained engagement between industry innovators, world-class academic teams, and government agencies.

Behrooz Shirazi, Acting Deputy Division Director of IUCRC said, “MIXR is one of the first national centers at the intersection of medical and computing sciences. We expect this collaboration to produce significant societal and healthcare impacts.”   

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