Microsoft is talking for the first time today about a new customer of its HoloLens augmented reality headset: publicly traded medical device company Stryker. Stryker sells forceps, drills, nasal dressings, and hip replacement systems, but it also sells equipment for operating rooms. The HoloLens is a tool that Stryker can use to help hospital employees figure out the best arrangements for their operating rooms.
This is important because multiple kinds of medical practitioners typically share each operating room, and finding something that’s suitable for everyone involved can be time-consuming.
“Using HoloLens and Stryker’s new By Design solution, hospital stakeholders are now able to envision the ideal operating room configuration with the power of holograms and the benefit of mixed reality,” HoloLens and Windows Experiences general manager Lorraine Bardeen wrote in a blog post. “Instead of needing all of the people from each surgical discipline, all the physical equipment required across all medical disciplines, all in one room at the same time, Stryker is now able to modify and build different operating room scenarios with holograms. No more time-consuming sessions where everyone needs to be physically present and no more need to move around heavy and expensive equipment to get a sense for how everything all fits together.”
This isn’t the first health care customer for HoloLens, which was first unveiled two years ago. CAE, Case Western Reserve University, and Cleveland Clinic have previously been public about their use of the device, whose developer edition costs $3,000. Outside of health care, other customers include Lowe’s, ThyssenKrupp, and Volvo.
Over the weekend, Brad Sams at Thurrott.com, citing unnamed sources, reported that Microsoft has canceled the development of the second version of the HoloLens and has moved its focus to a third version ahead of a 2019 release. While Magic Leap has faced questions about the state of its technology in recent months, the venture-backed startup does represent competition to the HoloLens. Microsoft already has customers for the version that exists today, and if Sams’ report is right, the company is eager to get a more impressive rethinking of the product out to customers sooner.