Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are two contemporary simulation models that are currently upgrading medical education. VR provides a 3D and dynamic view of structures and the ability of the user to interact with them. The recent technological advances in haptics, display systems, and motion detection allow the user to have a realistic and interactive experience, enabling VR to be ideal for training in hands-on procedures. Consequently, surgical and other interventional procedures are the main fields of application of VR. AR provides the ability of projecting virtual information and structures over physical objects, thus enhancing or altering the real environment. The integration of AR applications in the understanding of anatomical structures and physiological mechanisms seems to be beneficial. Studies have tried to demonstrate the validity and educational effect of many VR and AR applications, in many different areas, employed via various hardware platforms. Some of them even propose a curriculum that integrates these methods. This chapter provides a brief history of VR and AR in medicine, as well as the principles and standards of their function. Finally, the studies that show the effect of the implementation of these methods in different fields of medical training are summarized and presented.
Part of the book: Medical and Surgical Education