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Walter Greenleaf has been involved with the intersection of virtual reality and medicine for 35 years, and I had a chance to catch up with him at Oculus Connect in order to get some of his impressions from the keynote announcements. He was at the same time excited for the new announcements, the momentum of tetherless VR like the Quest due to it’s ease of use and potential medical applications, but he was also concerned about the lack of honest conversations around the deeper ethical and privacy implications of immersive technologies. Facebook talked about the future of the AR cloud and how it would be possible to capture your personal environments with photogrammetry scans, but the lack of any discussions about privacy-first architectures was somewhat disturbing for Greenleaf. There’s also going to be a lot of possibilities for the technologies to be able to make medical diagnoses, and he suggests that some of the biometric data that will be available may need to be regulated by something like HIPAA if Facebook doesn’t try to proactively architect to protect the capture and use of biometric data. So we cover some of the ethical and privacy implications of VR, as well as a brief update as to what he’s seeing in terms of the medical applications of VR.

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