“This pandemic may prove to be the inflection point for humanity to reimagine the way we interact with each other,” Professor Shafi Ahmed tells me. 

These days, I suppose, we all look for silver linings wherever we can get them, and the widespread adoption of XR – a technology that could ultimately boost productivity, reduce our carbon footprint, democratize education and help us all stay connected – could prove to be just that. 

Using XR in the medical field

Dr. Ahmed is a UK-based surgeon who has been a longstanding advocate for emerging technologies and is particularly enthusiastic about the possibilities that XR enables.

I came across his work recently when a video on Twitter caught my attention. The short demo showed him explaining various aspects of the COVID-19 virus to his colleagues – who were physically thousands of miles away – in a virtual environment. In spite of the lag at certain points, which rendered the avatars’ body language awkward (and rather funny), the interaction still came across as more natural and dynamic than, say, a video call.