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UH medical student earns national honors making research “come alive” through augmented reality

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa medical student created a 3-dimensional image of a heart that literally jumped off the surface of her research poster, winning her a top award at the 2017 national meeting of the American College of Physicians in San Diego, California.

Trudy Hong with her mentor Scott Lozanoff
Trudy Hong, left, with her mentor Scott Lozanoff in the JABSOM anatomy lab.

Trudy Hong, a 2017 graduate of the John A. Burns School of Medicine and current pediatrics MD resident, was one of only five overall winners in the ACP National Abstract Research Poster Competition. More than 140 medical student finalists competed.

“I was pretty shocked when they called my name,” said Hong.

Hong used “augmented reality” technology in her presentation, producing a detailed image that—when viewed with a cell phone app—“came alive” to illustrate a case of a rare vascular (heart) anomoly. Aberrant right subclavian artery is present in rare cases at birth, but it usually does not produce any symptoms.

“Using my iPhone, I scanned the image during my presentation to trigger the appearance of this 3Dmodel, which I used to describe this common anatomical variant we found in the lab,” said Hong.

“Using augmented reality throughout the presentation was very effective and the physicians and medical students from the other schools loved our project and its applications as much as we do. The judges were so blown away they asked me to present again so they could record it on their phones,” said Hong.

Augmented reality technology proves to be a valuable learning tool

Augmented reality is a form of technology that can project components of the digital world into a person’s real world.

Most of the Hawaiʻi medical students shown the 3D display found it easier to comprehend the subject matter than through customary learning tools in their studies.

“Clinically the literature is often referred to for further reference, but (most of the literature) lacks 3D representation and thus it is difficult to visualize and increases risk for errors in interpretation. In our project, we used 3D models—images digitized from actual organs—then applied various augmented reality tools in hopes to preserve, teach and learn the subject more quickly and effectively,” she said.

See the full story, go to the John A. Burns School of Medicine’s website.