Apple 3D Head-Tracking for Doctors


Director of Marketing

Apple is the hottest topic in the tech blogosphere these days. Even if you ignore all news of the "iSlate," dozens of rumors abound. One we find particularly interesting is a patent for 3D head-tracking. Instead of using a mouse and keyboard, Mac users simply move their head or body to control an image on screen. We think this technology would perfect for healthcare. Here's a short video to help you visualize this:


In an industry that relies heavily on charts and graphical information, we think Apple's head-tracking technology would be welcomed by physicians. It could be used to view X-rays, CAT scans, MRI scans, anatomical diagrams and more. For example, a neurologist could review an MRI scan of the brain by turning their head or using hand gestures (like in our example above of a 3D model from Visible Body). And given Apple's frequent trips to hang out with doctors, the concept isn't all that far-fetched.

Here are 4 other ways we think Apple's 3D head-tracking could be used in healthcare:

  • MRI scans and X-rays – Gone are the days of the light box. Doctors will view MRI scans and x-rays in 3D from their tablet or smart phone. Fractures that were once difficult to find will now be easy to identify by looking behind the bone.
  • Graphics & drawing – Some EHRs allow physicians to draw on anatomical diagrams or digital pictures and include them in the patient record. Using Apple's technology, physicians could "draw with their hands," like in this demonstration of Pranav Mistry's "Sixth Sense."
  • Ultrasound – Soon-to-be mothers will appreciate this. Not only will you be able to view an ultrasound in 3D, Apple's technology would allow you to view a fetus from all angles.
  • Medical education – Some of the best selling iPhone apps are 3D human anatomy apps designed for med students. If head-tracking doesn't become widely adopted by practicing physicians, at least it will be a cool way for students to memorize bones of the body.
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