3 min read

Surgical Training and Drug Discovery in the Metaverse

Creating value on the productivity and workplace side of the metaverse is tricky because there’s not always a clear upgrade to working in the metaverse. Immersive meeting spaces and virtual desktops are great general-purpose metaverse applications, but tangibly summarizing the value added by switching to these apps is not easily communicated.

On the flip side, health tech innovators working on immersive apps have done a great job communicating how the metaverse changes their industry. Two companies, in particular, that simulate the research lab and operating room excel at showcasing their value.

Nanome is a VR collaboration platform for modeling and designing molecules in general chemistry and pharmaceutical drug discovery. In other words, the platform puts chemists and drug researchers inside the molecules they’re studying.

Nanome gained a lot of media attention during COVID because researchers were using the tool to study the coronavirus. The platform allowed researchers like Andrey Kovalevsky to model the novel coronavirus and study how they may be able to shut down one of the viral proteins that would stop it from reproducing.

They leaned into this momentum and published case studies with two major customers in their industry, Novartis and Nimbus Therapeutics. They’ve also been profiled by Oculus Business. This is a testament to how they’ve clearly communicated the value of their tool and made it simple to onboard into the metaverse workplace.

PrecisionOS is a VR surgical training and assessment platform used by education institutions and medical device manufacturers. Basically, the tool brings the operating room into your living room with the Quest headsets.

With PrecisionOS, surgeons and students can continue their education and access unlimited OR cases. Professors can join them in the virtual OR. And the medical-grade simulations are nearly indistinguishable from the real world.

They’ve excelled because they’re a team of surgeons themselves who understand the current shortfalls in the surgical education system. Cadavers are expensive and thus students don’t have a lot of time to practice. Device manufacturers need to educate surgeons on new tools and procedures, but sending them to in-person training seminars is inefficient. PrecisionOS solves these problems directly.

Both Nanome and PrecisionOS were founded over 5 years ago. So maybe it’s just experience that has led them to communicate their tools so well. Or maybe it’s because their particular industries are receptive to the changes the metaverse offers. For example, surgeons like Rafael Grossman have been vocal about mixed reality in healthcare for some time:

Regardless, we can learn a lot from both companies because they’ve created metaverse adoption in the unlikeliest of industries: healthcare. And they did it on the Quest and Rift headsets. How are these companies going to evolve with the augmented reality pass-through feature on the Quest Pro headset?

One Great App for Every Persona

When we think of how we reach mass adoption of the metaverse, who is thinking of the hard sciences adopting this tech? Usually, our minds wander to the social and entertainment side of things. How do we create a TikTok or YouTube-caliber metaverse experience that captures billions of people in XR for hours on end?

But casting this wide net is the wrong way to think about it.

What Nanome and PrecisionOS prove is that you can create metaverse users by focusing on the nichés. It’s about finding the pain point of your persona and creating something that fixes their problems. Both of these companies are creating massive efficiencies through their metaverse applications, which is why thousands of surgeons, scientists, and students are using their tech. And these are surgeons, scientists, and students that likely wouldn’t have been early metaverse users otherwise.

To reach mass adoption of the metaverse, we need every persona to have one great app that improves their lives. This will be enough to onboard users and build from there.

For surgeons, it’s PrecisionOS. For drug researchers, it’s Nanome.

But what about lawyers? What metaverse app is going to resonate with them? What about tax accountants? What could the metaverse do for them? Maybe it’s not the professional side that will catch your attention, but rather your interests. If you’re an NBA fan, there will be a metaverse app that greatly upgrades live sports one day. If you’re into cosmetics, there will be a metaverse app that changes how you shop and wear cosmetics.

In order to bring the metaverse fully mainstream, we have to think about what the metaverse can offer on a persona-by-persona basis.