Virtual reality, 3D printing among innovations changing medical treatment

Could 3D printing change the way doctors do surgery?. Timur Emek/Getty Images

VANCOUVER – One company is making surgery simulations that feel like a video game, while another has designed a system to provide prosthetics to the poor in developing countries.

Both inventions are at the forefront of advancements in medical technology that companies say could help make health care more affordable.

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Techniques including virtual reality and 3D printing are the basis of a collection of health innovations developed in British Columbia that are being showcased at a high-tech summit in Vancouver.

Aaron Hilton, executive chairman of Conquer Mobile, says his company’s software could reduce the province’s nursing shortage by saving the government millions in training costs.

Joshua Coutts, director with the Victoria Hand Project, says the non-profit’s 3D prosthetics system offers amputees a solution at a fraction of the cost of others on the market.

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Other potential cost-cutting technologies include a mobile app that acts as a mental-fitness coach and a robotic exoskeleton that assists people with lower-body disabilities.

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