How to watch world’s first live VR surgery this week

There’s a finite limit to the number of medical students you can cram into a surgical theatre – or so we thought.

The world’s first live-streamed virtual reality operation is set to go ahead in the UK this week, and you can watch it from the comfort of your armchair.

A patient with colon cancer has given the go-ahead for his operation to be beamed around the world in VR for educational purposes.

The operation will take place on April 14, 2016 at 13:00 (BST) at The Royal London Hospital, with leading cancer surgeon Dr Shafi Ahmed performing the surgery.

samsung gear VRYou can view the surgery on a Samsung Gear VR headset

“I am honoured that this patient has given permission for his experience to provide this unparalleled learning opportunity,” said Ahmed.

“As a champion of new technology in medicine, I believe that virtual and augmented reality can revolutionise surgical education and training, particularly for developing countries that don’t have the resources and facilities of NHS hospitals,” he continued.

He added: “I am very excited about the expansion of this program to bring more medical learning to the world.”

Related: Best VR headsets

The live-stream thanks to a partnership between the Barts Health NHS Trust and Mativision, a VR and live-streaming company.

“This is a very important milestone for Mativision as it will be the first time that our 360 and VR proprietary technology will be used for the medical vertical,” said George Kapellos, Head of Marketing and Partnerships at Mativision.

Kapellos continued: “It’s a great example of how VR can become a powerful educational tool and extend its reach over and above entertainment. The world is just beginning to see the possibilities of what VR can achieve and we are proud to be at the very forefront of this.”

Here’s how to watch the stream:

iOS app

Android app

Samsung Gear VR – search for ‘VRinOR’ in the Oculus store

Desktop

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If you were having an operation, would you mind it being live-streamed for medical training? Let us know in the comments.