About Medical XR:

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are both novel technologies allowing users to experience enhanced or virtual environments with the use of head-mounted displays. In VR a user wears a head-mounted display that allows complete immersion in a 3D world. Using controllers, objects may be picked up and manipulated in the same way an object would be in the real world. In AR the user has a transparent head-mounted display which overlays images and data onto the real world.

Together, these two technologies are referred to as Extended Reality (XR), and they will open new avenues for the visualisation and analysis of data in the field of medicine. The Analysis, Visualization and Informatics group (AVI) at the MRC WIMM Centre for Computational Biology is at the forefront of this drive to use XR for biomedical research and patient care.

AVI Group:

Oxford University - Analysis, Visualization and Informatics group

The Analysis, Visualization and Informatics group (AVI) at the MRC WIMM Centre for Computational Biology is responsible for the development and implementation of new ways to analyse, integrate, query and visualise large biomedical datasets. The work described on this site has arisen following collaborations with various groups in Oxford including,

Medical XR Facility:

Oxford University - Extended Reality for the Medical Sciences

These collaborations have alerted us to the fact there are a wide range of potential applications for XR in medicine, spanning research, preoperative investigation, training, patient therapy and public engagement. In this burgeoning field there is a strong need to collaborate across disciplines to develop best working practices and we wish to set up a "Medical XR Facility", akin to the Single Cell Facility. This new Facility would help biological scientists in Oxford who need to develop applications and would like to use XR as part of their work but do not have access to such niche developer skills. It will help build a common platform across departments and provide resources and training to ensure promising applications of the technology are exploited to the full and for Oxford to become a world leader in Medical XR.

Current Projects


import 3D images | HTC Vive
Our latest project, works with 3D image data (e.g. ultrasound, CT, MRI, microscopy) allowing researchers and clinicians to interact with complex imaging modalities in new intuitive ways.


primary visual cortex
StrokeVR is showing promise in allowing researchers to probe damage to the visual processing area of the brain in stroke patients.


virtual training | hip replacement
Prior to total hip replacement, AescularVR can be used to plan operations in virtual reality. AescularVR can be used for any system that requires accurate registration of objects in 3D.


chronic breathlessness
Examining how the brain weights and combines different sensory inputs to create sensations of breathlessness.


chromatin 3D structure visualisation
3D genome browser and real time chromatin restraint-based modeller to visualise dynamic models of chromatin capture data.


This work has been funded by:

  • John Fell OUP Research Fund
  • Oxford IT Innovation Award
  • Medical Research Council (MRC)