World's first virtual reality operation is underway today - and you can watch

VR operation

Updated: You can tune in now ready for the world's first ever VR operation to take place. It'll start at 2PM BST. You can download both the iOS and Android apps now or search 'VRinOR' in the Oculus Store for a Gear VR.

Original: The world's first operation to be streamed in virtual reality will take place this week, presenting a new way to educate medical students across the globe.

The procedure is set to be filmed through two 360-degree cameras with multiple lenses, enabling users to move around the theatre and zoom in and out of the operation.

The operation carried out by Barts Health staff has been made possible in partnership with healthcare company Medical Realities and live streaming app Mativision.

It will be streamed through the Mativision app, allowing thousands of medical students to tune in – and anyone else who wants to, with the aim of reaching people in developing countries.

Operating at The Royal London Hospital will be Dr Shafi Ahmed, an advocate for how virtual reality can help the surgery industry. The unnamed 70-year-old man has colon cancer, and is said to be excited to be involved in the experiment.

'Unparalleled learning opportunity'

Dr Ahmed, Cancer Surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust and Co-founder of Medical Realities, said: "I am honoured that this patient has given permission for his experience to provide this unparalleled learning opportunity.

"As a champion of new technology in medicine, I believe that virtual and augmented reality can revolutionise surgical education and training, particularly for developing countries that don't have the resources and facilities of NHS hospitals."

In the future, both Mativision and Medical Realities want to overlay CGI graphics, interactive elements and labels on top of the operations to improve the educational value.

The stream will begin on Thursday April 14 at 1PM BST. You can download both the iOS and Android apps in preparation, or for Gear VR, just search 'VRinOR' in the Oculus Store.

Own a virtual reality headset yet? Watch this handy video for you to choose the best for you.

James Peckham

James is Managing Editor for Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.