Could Virtual Reality ​Goggles provide a preferable video consulting experience to the front facing cameras on our mobiles/tablets?

Oculus VR Headset

On​ ​announcing the $2 Billion acquisition of Oculus VR,​ ​the startup maker of​ ​virtual​ ​reality​ ​headsets, Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced that Facebook has plans for the technology that extend far beyond it’s current target audience of hard-core video game players:

After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences… …Imagine enjoying a courtside seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face to face — just by putting on goggles in your home

Facebook to Buy Oculus VR, Maker of Virtual Reality Headset, 26th March 2014, NY Times

I’m surprised I’m finding it hard to appreciate the opportunity in this video calling scenario as it’s hard to imagine what point of view the Doctor would be given of the Patient who is wearing a pair of goggles. Also I can imagine the goggles are going to limit the Patients potential to point the camera to provide their remote Doctor with a close up at some particular area of their body.​

Perhaps Mark Zuckerberg is talking about the Patient joining a discussion with their healthcare team or the remote Doctor being the one using the virtual reality goggles?​

What do you think?

Sir Stirling Moss 3G Video Calling 3G Doctor Dr Fiona Kavanagh

*** UPDATE: 28 March 2014 ***

It’s interesting to note that individuals who backed the ambitious project on Kickstarter are now venting that the company has gone corporate and they haven’t been made rich.

I don’t think there’s any real issue with Facebook/Oculus but I think this adds a new dynamic to the challenges of crowd funding of mHealth startups eg. it’s easy to think of ethical/moral issues arising if Patients had backed a mHealth project in the hope that it could help a medical innovation get to market (to help Patients like them) and perhaps disrupt the market status quo (that might now not change at all because the large incumbent corporation has acquired the project to block the potential disruption).

About David Doherty
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