The world’s first surgery to be broadcasted via Snapchat Spectacles happened today in London. Dr Shafi Ahmed, a cancer surgeon at the Royal London Hospital, used social media’s hottest gadget to share his inguinal hernia repair operation.
The operation was recorded into 10 second long clips with Spectacles and pushed out to Dr Ahmed’s medical students for targeted training, and to his curious Snapchat followers.
Spectacles are a pair of sunglasses that can shoot first-person videos with a 115-degree-angle lens and upload them to Snapchat. The glasses cost $130 and connect to an iPhone or Android phone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi
“I have already worked with Google glass and other smart glasses including virtual reality headsets to teach my students and trainees,” told Dr Shafi Ahmed to Haptical.
“I was intrigued by the Snapchat platform which allows small segment clips to be uploaded almost immediately allowing for almost a structured teaching experience with the feed present for only 24 hours. I could also control the viewers to my trainees and students.”
The operation was watched by 150 students across the globe, via Snapchat clips. Dr Shafi Ahmed is a very well known figure in the area of medical virtual reality technologies.
Back in March 2016, he made the first surgery to be broadcast through virtual reality. A 360-degree camera rig mounted over the operating table captured his movements and live streamed it globally in VR.
He is also the co-founder of virtual and augmented reality firm Medical Realities.
“It is a completely different device due to the short clips of the video,” Dr Shafi Ahmed said, when we asked him to compare Spectacles to Google Glass.
“The media platform is far better. I will be using this device to teach clinical skills to my students in the clinic. The Spectacles was simple to set up and very easy to use and seemed to be very reliable,” he added.
“The use of Snapchat to record 10 second bite-size clips of the operation has great value for students,” said Shareef Mahdi, a 4th year medical student from the Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry.
“The fact that Snapchat was used will appeal to many from the younger generations who use it on a day-to-day basis, and it’s a chance for them to learn about medical topics in an innovative and tailored way.”
“Virtual reality is an exciting innovation that will transform clinical practice by offering immersive patient education and treatment,” said Dr Shafi Ahmed.
According to Goldman Sachs, health care industry is one of the nine major areas virtual and augmented reality can be used. The company predicts $5.1 billion dollar VR/AR software market to be created by 2025.