Dmytro Spilka
Contributor to Entrepreneur.com, TechRadar and TNW.

How Israeli AR startups are paving the way for more advanced medical treatments

(Unsplash)
(Unsplash)

When it comes to cutting edge developments in technology, it’s fair to say that an Israeli startup isn’t far from the action. 

Israel has evolved to become a melting pot of forward-thinking and driven tech startups over the course of the past decade. Cities like Tel Aviv have developed a tech infrastructure that could give hubs like Silicon Valley a run for their money when it comes to innovation. 

Despite producing a comprehensive list of exciting startups on a yearly basis, Israel has often been considered a leader in cybersecurity software, whereas healthcare innovations haven’t become quite as synonymous with the startup nation. 

However, things may be about to change regarding Israel’s advanced healthcare efforts. Recent years have demonstrated the level of ambition that Israel holds when it comes to innovation. So much so that the nation, home to nine million inhabitants, is currently ranked sixth in the world for possessing the most innovative economy – fending off the likes of the US and France. 

One of the biggest driving forces behind the success of Israel’s enviable innovation stems from the nation’s willingness to commit higher proportions of its GDP towards Research & Development (R&D). 

Taking the bold decision to invest significantly in R&D has aided Israel in becoming a global leader in emerging technology. Amounting to over 4% of the entire nation’s GDP, Israeli startups have benefited from having the power to delve into the potential of AI, cybersecurity, virtual reality and augmented reality markets – the latter of which is delivering new solutions in the wider fields of healthcare and dentistry. 

Let’s take a deeper look into some of the ways that Israeli startups are paving the way for technologically advanced medical treatments in the coming years: 

Augmented X-Ray Vision

Developed by Yokneam Ilit-based Israeli startup AugMedics, an active AR guidance system has been designed to provide surgeons ‘X-Ray vision’ to help better visualise the spinal anatomy of patients during procedures. 

By utilising AR glasses and a built-in camera, it’s possible for surgeons to accurately navigate each one of a patient’s spinal vertebrae during complex procedures. 

Utilising such technology can greatly help surgeons in treating spinal deformities, the treating of degenerative tissue, tumour resection and spinal trauma cases. Given the fine margins for error within this form of surgery, the accuracy of augmented spinal visualisations can significantly boost the chances of success when it comes to spinal surgery. 

Already AugMedics has entered US markets after receiving 510(k) clearance from the Food and Drug Administration in December 2019. The company had previously raised $8.3 million from orthopaedic fundraising firm, AO Invest.  

The application of AugMedics software within spinal surgeries will undoubtedly aid scores of patients in successfully recovering from various ailments that could help them to avoid paralysis and other back-related ailments. 

The augmented reality software could also be utilised for other surgeries closely related to our skeletal systems, and could even help to improve accuracy in dental training and procedures. Subsequently, this could help to improve patient satisfaction in cosmetic dental markets, helping users to avoid drastic and invasive treatments and instead opting for less drastic measures like whitening strips, clear aligners or traditional orthodontics, as opposed to irreversible veneers. 

Pandemic-Fighting Extended Reality Therapy

Israel has also shown signs of excellence in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic that’s left much of the world reeling. In May 2020, XRHealth, a leading extended reality and therapeutic applications company received a $450,000 grant from the Israeli Innovation Authority (IIA) to utilise its technology in the fight against Coronavirus. The move helped to accelerate the implementation of extended reality therapy in Israeli hospitals and telehealth services to help doctors to tend to health issues remotely. In addition to this, the company has also helped to deliver solutions to help patents rehabilitate following a COVID infection. 

Founded in 2016, XRHealth has headquarters in both Israel and the US and is the first certified extended reality medical company in the world. They provide first-of-its-kind healthcare technology that aids clinicians to better take care of their patients through the use of extended reality technology that takes inspiration from the best of both AR and VR solutions alongside data analysis. Having created the world’s first telehealth clinic, XRHealth is currently certified in 17 states across the US. 

The extended reality solution used by the company collects and examines user data through virtual clinic appointments and delivers real-time advanced data analytics that enables healthcare providers to enhance their user experience models and provide more accurate diagnoses and advice. The platform can even aid the rehabilitation process of patients by offering cognitive assessments and pain management sessions. 

Enhanced Augmented Analysis

Despite Israel’s reputation for innovation lying predominantly away from healthcare, over 350 healthcare startups gathered in Tel Aviv in 2019 to attend the second annual Digital.Health.Now conference, focused on showcasing their latest innovations in health technology. 

One of the most notable attendees came in the form of Augmentiqs – a startup that’s intent on turning analogue medical instruments into augmented devices that offer real-time insights and smart pathology. 

Augmentiqs’ digital pathology platform has the power to seamlessly integrate with traditional microscopes and enable both live-sharing and collaboration between pathologists and remote viewers – enhancing their capabilities and streamlining the pathology workflow. 

With augmented solutions proving capable of converting analogue devices into interconnected instruments, modern healthcare can reach new levels of interconnectivity and innovation – paving the way for unprecedented collaboration techniques and better education from remote locations. 

Israel may be the startup nation, but it isn’t always seen as the innovation hub it deserves recognition for in the field of healthcare. However, with the rise of reality technology, the tide is beginning to turn. 

Continued R&D funding has enabled scores of advanced healthcare startups that look to combine augmented reality technology with trusted medical practices to help combat the risks posed by dangerous surgeries and devastating pandemics alike. With a healthy range of startups already entering global markets, it’s fair to say that the future’s bright for Israeli healthcare startups.

About the Author
Dmytro is a CEO of Solvid, a creative content creation agency based in London. He's also the founder of Pridicto, a web analytics startup. His work has been featured in various publications, including Entrepreneur.com, TechRadar, Hackernoon, TNW, Huff Post, and ReadWrite.
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