words. Odyssia Houstis
photos. courtesy of ORamaVR
issue 1 – in love with Switzerland
What is your background and how has it helped you enter this medical metaverse arena?
I am co-founder and CEO of ORamaVR and I am a computer scientist specialized in computer graphics systems, extended reality algorithms and geometric computational models. My academic credentials include serving as Professor of Computer Graphics at the Computer Science department of the University of Crete, Greece, as Affiliated Research Fellow at the Human Computer Interaction Laboratory of the Institute of Computer Science in the Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas, Heraklion, Greece, where I lead the Computer Graphics Group and I am also visiting Professor of Computer Science at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. I have more than 100 publications in the field, and I am a member of CGS (Board Member), IEEE, Eurographics, ACM and SIGGRAPH professional societies. In 2011 I was awarded a Marie-Curie Intra-European Fellowship for Career Development from the European Commission’s Research Executive Agency. I was conference chair of the Computer Graphics International 2016 Conference, in cooperation with CGS, ACM, ACM SIGGRAPH and Eurographics Associations. In 2017 I published a Springer-Nature book on Mixed Reality and Gamification which achieved more than 77.000 downloads so far. My pioneering research has attracted more than 2M EUR external funding at FORTH-ICS and more than 3.3M external R&D funding at ORamaVR.
Throughout my career I have been tackling hard scientific visualization problems via computational science. After becoming tenured as a professor, I decided to focus on societal problems with high impact and contribute as much as I can in “making the world a better place through science”. Thus, the focus on life sciences and the hard problem of how to improve education and training of medical professionals, a practice that has not been changed in the last 150 years, despite the immense technological advances.
What sets ORamaVR apart from other medical metaverse companies?
ORamaVR’s mission is to accelerate the World’s transition to medical VR training. We are committed to improving global health care and well-being by transforming how medical VR is being created (tools), not just how it is being experienced (content). What radically differentiates us is that we democratize medical VR content creation through our MAGES Software Development Kit platform, instead of designing 1 simulation at a time, significantly accelerating the word’s transition to a new era of medical VR training. By providing affordable access to its MAGES SDK platform, ORamaVR directly empowers content creators and medical institutions to mass produce high fidelity medical VR training simulation content rapidly and for a fraction of the cost without having to outsource to specialized producers.
Deep-tech and groundbreaking Research is integral part of our company culture, which is verified by the latest survey on medical metaverse published in IEEE Access: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9940237 as well as our 14 research publications just in 2022: https://oramavr.com/publications/
What do you see as the future of medical VR? Where do you imagine it will be in ten years from now?
Our master plan at ORamaVR is to empower key medical institutions, med-device companies, and content creators to rapidly create medical VR training content by themselves using our SDK, using a SaaS B2B model. By using that revenue, we are going to further evolve our existing low-code medical VR training SDK into an affordable no-code platform. Thus, allow the critical mass of MAGES SDK users to populate a carefully curated and scientifically validated marketplace of high-fidelity medical VR training simulations to facilitate mass adoption.
Could you describe to us some of the projects that you are involved in with InoSuisse. What kind of projects and research is being done?
ORamaVR participates in two Swiss-funded, multi-partner Innovation Innosuisse projects, Intelligent Digital Surgeon (IDS) and PROFICIENCY. In IDS, ORamaVR is contributing to the implementation of an embodied virtual agent that is able to identify & analyse the trainee’s actions based on optimal suture and incision gesture data sets, utilizing non-VR special motion capture sensors and vision-based AI methods for tracking the hand/arm gestures of the trainee. The proposed system also adopts a distributed software architecture, that offloads heavy processes (e.g., rendering and physics computations) to cloud-edge CPU/GPU resources. In PROFICIENCY ORamaVR is contributing to a broader novel learning platform the implementation of a) a 2D desktop-VR-app and a mobile VR-app for Total Hip Arthroplasty (THA), b) an AR guidance application for THA, and c) the visualization/modelling of a remotely captured OR, and a multi-user AR/VR capability to a broader application for immersive remote OR participation.
Switzerland is known for its innovation and forward thinking in healthcare. How do you see the future for Swiss startups in the medical metaverse arena?
Switzerland is the cradle of innovation in Europe, especially on med-tech and healthcare. The highly skilled human capital, in combination with the high growth startup/financial landscape in collaboration with world-class leading academic institutions are creating the ‘perfect storm’ for Swiss startups in the medical metaverse arena.
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