The so-called metaverse seems to be the next big thing for online commerce.
But this virtual world also has a role to play in medicine.
Korea is a leader in this field, using virtualy reality to help doctors learn together about the latest surgical procedures being done here even while on the other side of the world.
In the second installment of her series on "Smart Korea," our Shin Ye-eun looks at how Korea is taking medical education and training to the next level.
This may look like an ordinary medical conference.
But take a closer look.
It's a metaverse conference where health professionals from around the world come together as avatars to see how South Korea conducts surgeries.
Thanks to virtual reality technology, they can watch the surgeries up close and from all angles.
All they need is a VR head set or an electronic device.
"This is where the surgeries are filmed.
At the smart operating room in Seoul National University Bundang Hospital.
You can see there's a lot of equipment for them to film and live-stream their surgeries.
Let me show you just how smart this room is.
There's a 3-hundred 60-degree camera that records the operating room in all angles.
This way you can see what each surgeon is doing inside this room.
And if you're a viewer, you can use the monitor over here.
All you need is a mouse cursor to see all angles inside the room.
There's also voice recognition devices.
"Hey Alexa, turn on the surgical lights."
You can see just how smart this room is for educational purposes."
As Korea's medical techniques have advanced, surgeons around the world have visited Korea to learn how surgeons here have gotten to excel in areas like minimally invasive laparoscopic surgeries.
But with the pandemic, flying to different countries to learn medical know-how has become difficult.
That's why in 2019, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital introduced the smart operating room.
This has taken Korea's medical education to a whole new level.
"Before, doctors would have to fly to Korea and squeeze themselves into a small room and stand on a stool to see how we operate. Now, all they need is an electronic device. Thanks to VR tech and 360 degree cameras, doctors can see every angle of the operating room, and how the procedure is done up close."
After attending a metaverse surgery, the National University Hospital in Singapore decided to implement the smart operating room in its own hospital.
"One video speaks more than a million words. In the same sense one piece of digital technology with video, 3d immersion, and 360 degree immersion into virtual environment can enhance the experience of the surgeon."
There's no doubt that digital technology can boost the quality of medical education.
But it isn't an option for everyone.
"There are other things that need priority. We're still an emerging country. Sometimes we're still struggling with insurance companies to get basic things like test tubes, valves. "
South Korean health institutions are aware of those challenges and are launching outreach programs to help other countries expand their ICT-based medical systems.
Shin Ye-eun, Arirang News.