Virtual Reality, an ally in the fight against the COVID-19

Virtual Reality becomes a tool against covid19 COVID-19

On 31 December last, the Chinese authorities notified 27 cases of pneumonia of unknown origin. Those affected were apparently linked to a market in the city of Wuhan, a large metropolis with 11 million inhabitants. Since that day the world has changed.

The world is suffering from paralysis, which, so far, is only temporary. No one dares to set a date for the eradication of the virus, let alone calculate when we will return to normal life. Is the world prepared to face the consequences of the virus? What effect will it have on the immersive technologies sector?

Personally, I need a lot more data to deal with these questions. I don’t think it’s right to focus the information in “Guru” or “Post-Apocalyptic” visionary format. This article intends to summarize at a glance, some of the Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality solutions that are being applied to support people, companies or public entities in the fight against the virus.


George Washington University Hospital is using conventional x-ray images of the patient’s chest, taken from different angles, to form an immersive 360-degree image. With this image we can distinguish the healthy parts of the lungs, in blue, and the parts affected by Covid-19, in yellow.

One of the surgeons at the hospital explains after analyzing the images:

“Unlike common pneumonia which usually affects only a small part of the lung, what you see in this video is actually widespread damage to many different parts of both lungs”

“What you see in the yellow video is basically the virus destroying the patient’s lungs,” explains George Washington University Hospital’s chief of thoracic surgery, Dr. Keith Mortman, who describes the patient’s condition as “quite alarming.

The images we see on the video are of an intubated patient.

Having advanced 360 representation systems, it proposes a significant advance in diagnosis, healing patterns and widespread scientific study. Know your enemy would be the essence to understand the importance of this technique.

Mixed Reality, 3D structure visualization

In the following video we can see a complete 3D model of the viral structure. Tom Goddard, a programmer / analyst from the University of California at San Francisco, is using a tool called ChimeraX. This tool allows us the guided molecular visualization thanks to the “mixed reality” configuration allowing a tour through the smallest structures.

This tool allows guided molecular visualization thanks to the “mixed reality” configuration allowing a tour of the smallest structures.

Using a depth detection camera and a VR headset, Tom is able to manipulate 3D models of the SARS virus, we do not yet have complete 3D structure data for the new coronavirus proteins, to show us exactly how SARS binds to its virus. ChimeraX and MR system prove to be a powerful tool against COVID-19.

Using Virtual Reality for meetings

You can use programs like Skype and Webex to help drive your online workflow, but virtual reality offers a greater level of immersion and engagement when it comes to remote collaboration. A virtual reality meeting platform such as Glue , for example, offers several features that are not possible in traditional 2D online meetings. In virtual meeting spaces, you can share PowerPoint, Excel and other files while using features such as a virtual whiteboard, which any user can use by writing or drawing at any time. 3D data visualization can also be used, allowing employees to interact with more complex graphics in an intuitive manner. For example, if an architect wants to review new plans, they can view these graphics in addition to a full 3D model of the new construction, with various levels of detail that can be added or subtracted.

A Virtual Reality meeting platform such as “Glue” offers several features that are not possible in traditional 2D online meetings

The coronavirus will affect everyday life for the rest of 2020 and possibly until the first half of 2021, or perhaps even beyond… We have to start thinking that organizations cannot and should not expect short-term solutions to preserve productivity during this time. With the arrival of such an incredible pandemic, one could say that industries have been forced into the next big transformation. Virtual reality optimizes workspaces and increases our remote digital perception. The true digital era of the 21st century is approaching and COVID19 may be to blame for its accelerated implementation.

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