Medicine Meets Virtual Reality 13
Magical describes conditions that are outside our understanding of cause and effect. What cannot be attributed to human or natural forces is explained as magic: super-human, super-natural. Even in modern societies, magic-based explanations are powerful because, given the complexity of the universe, there are so many opportunities to use them. The history of medicine is defined by progress in understanding the human body - from magical explanations to measurable results. To continue medical progress, physicians and scientists must openly question traditional models. Valid inquiry demands a willingness to consider all possible solutions without prejudice. Medical politics should not perpetuate unproven assumptions nor curtail reasoned experimentation, unbiased measurement and well-informed analysis. For thirteen years, Medicine Meets Virtual Reality has been an incubator for technologies that create new medical understanding via the simulation, visualization and extension of reality. Researchers create imaginary patients because they offer a more reliable and controllable experience to the novice surgeon. With imaging tools, reality is purposefully distorted to reveal to the clinician what the eye alone cannot see. Robotics and intelligence networks allow the healer’s sight, hearing, touch and judgment to be extended across distance, as if by magic. The moments when scientific truth is suddenly revealed after lengthy observation, experimentation and measurement, is the real magic. These moments are not miraculous, however. They are human ingenuity in progress and they are documented here in this book.