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E-Bulletin No. 10 - December 2022 | Metaverse in Healthcare

Published on: 7 Dec 2022 Viewed: 122

This week, Connected Health (CH) journal continues to share several latest articles related to metaverse in healthcare.

1. Title: The Trend of Metaverse and Augmented & Virtual Reality Extending to the Healthcare System

Authors: Kunal Bhugaonkar, Roshan Bhugaonkar, Neha Masne

Type: Review

There is no escaping Internet's favorite buzzword for 2022: The Metaverse. Everyone is talking about it, but only a few know what it is or how it works. One can look at the Metaverse as a 3D model of the Internet where it is possible to spend your reality parallel to the virtual world. In broad terms, Metaverse can be explained as a virtual space, graphically rich, leaning towards verisimilitude where people can do all sorts of things they do in real-life such as shop, play, socialize, and party. The pandemic has accelerated innovations in the digital age. Looking beyond revolutions in telehealth, payments, remote monitoring, and secure data-sharing are other essential innovations in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and blockchain technology. The Metaverse is still in its nascent stage and evolving continuously, having a huge potential in health care to combine the technologies of AI, AR/VR, web 3.0, Internet of medical devices, and quantum computing, along with robotics to give a new direction to healthcare systems. From improving surgical precision to therapeutic usage and more, the Metaverse can bring significant changes to the industry.

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2. Title: The Metaverse: A New Challenge for the Healthcare System: A Scoping Review

Authors: Luca Petrigna, Giuseppe Musumeci

Type: Review

(1) Background: The metaverse is now a reality, and it interests the scientific community, the educational setting, and medical care. Considering the number of people in front of screens, especially children and adolescents, the metaverse could and should become a place of health promotion. Consequently, the objective of the present study was to review the current literature to detect articles that connected the metaverse with prevention and treatment, education and training, and research setting. (2) Methods: Articles were searched on Pubmed, Web of Science, and Scopus, including English-written papers published until 12 August 2022. They were screened against the eligibility criteria and discussed narratively. (3) Results: The literature published is poor; only 21 articles were included, and 11 of them were added in a second moment. These articles were mainly reviews of the literature or editorials. The aspects related to this virtual world in terms of health prevention and the treatment of clinical conditions, education and training, and research have been narratively discussed. (4) Conclusions: The metaverse could be considered a useful instrument to arrive easily and quickly to the population. Given its importance, today, different studies and investments are required to develop proper health promotion programs that are feasible and valid in the metaverse.

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3. Title: Roadmap toward the metaverse: An AI perspective

Authors: Shenghui Cheng, Yue Zhang, Xiaofei Li, Lin Yang, Xin Yuan, Stan Z. Li

Type: Commentary

Truth must be told, but not much—a hybrid society of real and virtual is coming. Metaverse,1 rise recently, is attracting significant attention from academia to industry. A metaverse is a network of three-dimensional (3D) virtual worlds focused on social connection. Bearing the outbreak of the coronavirus 2019 pandemic, people are physically isolated, which triggered the growth of the metaverse. Different from existing work, this commentary targets the roadmap of the metaverse from an artificial intelligence (AI) perspective. First, we blueprint a roadmap for this digital cyberspace transformation, including immersion creation, hardware support, text interpretation, audio processing, connection construction, economy operation, and security protection. Second, at each phase of the roadmap, we address the status as well as the advanced technologies to provide in-depth views accordingly. The whole pipeline is illustrated from an AI2 perspective, as shown in Figure 1, and we believe that AI is playing an increasingly important role in core techniques toward this technological singularity.

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4. Title: What the Metaverse Is (Really) and Why We Need to Know About It

Authors: Giuseppe Riva and Brenda K. Wiederhold

Type: Original Articles

Major technology companies are investing significant sums of money in the creation of the metaverse whose main feature will be the fusion between the virtual world and the physical world. To allow this possibility is one of the less obvious features of the metaverse: the metaverse works like our minds. This ability makes the metaverse a significantly different technology from its predecessors. If television and social media are persuasive technologies, because of their ability to influence people's attitudes and behaviors, the metaverse is instead a transformative technology, capable of modifying what people think reality is. To achieve this goal, the technologies of the metaverse hack different key cognitive mechanisms: the experience of being in a place and in a body, the processes of brain-to-brain attunement and synchrony, and the ability of experiencing and inducing emotions. Clearly, these possibilities define totally new scenarios with positive and negative outcomes. Educating ourselves as to its promise, and the challenges it may present, is a necessity. This requires a “humane,” integrated, and multidisciplinary approach, with stakeholders at the supranational level joining in the conversation.

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We hope this sharing will inspire you. Looking forward to meeting you next time in CH Bulletin.

Respectfully submitted by the Editorial Office of Connected Health

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