Metaverse Propelling Medicine to New Era

IME West keynote speaker believes the fledgling metaverse will play a key role in future medical diagnosis and treatment.

Spencer Chin, Senior Editor

February 9, 2023

3 Min Read
 IME West keynote speaker Christopher Lafayette
Christopher Lafayette, Founder and CEO of GatherVerse, speaks about the role of the metaverse in future medicine at IME West 2023.Image courtesy of Spencer Chin

For Christopher Lafayette, founder, and CEO of GatherVerse, the rise of the metaverse as a key medium for future medicine was rooted in the pandemic, when the world went virtual, and people have been reluctant to come out of it. The effects of the disruption will lead to a different looking medical diagnosis and treatment model, with technologies such as telemedicine rising to prominence.

Speaking during a keynote session at IME West in Anaheim Tuesday, Lafayette steered clear of any hype surrounding the metaverse. “We have never seen technology move as rapidly as it has now,” Lafayette told the audience. “The metaverse is not a single technology. AI, machine learning, smartbots, mixed reality, all these technologies are in this ecohabitat together. They are all scaling up at a rapid clip.”

Elaborating beyond medicine, Lafayette said the metaverse will be a key medium in the future. “We will buy, sell, and trade within the metaverse. The world has never been so virtual, and there is no going back.”

The societal disruption brought on by the pandemic sowed the seeds for numerous changes in medicine, which Lafayette rattled off to the audience. “Global demand for personal protective equipment has risen 40% since March 2020, and as of October 2021, there were upwards of 400 vaccines in development. “

Telemedicine, which has long been one of the technologies cited slated to grow as part of the trend towards digital medicine, has without a doubt received a boost from the pandemic as medical facilities and patients have cut back on in-person visits. “Telemedicine used increased over 50% between February and March 2020,” Lafayette noted, which was the when the pandemic surged in the U.S.

Game-changing Metaverse Technologies Coming

One of the key metaverse-related developments will be the use of digital twins to replicate the human body, that will provide medical personnel a valuable tool in diagnosing medical conditions and determining appropriate treatment. “We will be able to view in detail all parts of the human body, Lafayette said. “This will enable the development of technology and medicines that will enable frontline workers to treat patients.”

Lafayette envisions a time when patients will go into virtual facilities and in some cases get treated with a remote wearable device. Wearable medical devices, and medical devices that are orally ingested and sense conditions while residing in the bloodstream, are expected to play a larger role in digital medicine.

Lafayette warned companies against investing too much in current medtech technologies, due to the current breakneck pace of technology development. “Anything you adopt now for the metaverse could be obsolete in 24 months.”

For Lafayette, future metaverse developments will need to carefully consider human factors. His firm, GatherVerse, provides a virtual global forum for companies to exchange ideas about the metaverse, trying to equalize access regardless of geographic and economic circumstances.

“Makers of these technologies are starting to understand we need to focus on perceptual science to create human like interactions and not video game-like interactions,” Lafayette said. “We have to think differently on how technology will affect and change everyone.”


Spencer Chin is a Senior Editor for Design News covering the electronics beat. He has many years of experience covering developments in components, semiconductors, subsystems, power, and other facets of electronics from both a business/supply-chain and technology perspective. He can be reached at [email protected].




About the Author(s)

Spencer Chin

Senior Editor, Design News

Spencer Chin is a Senior Editor for Design News, covering the electronics beat, which includes semiconductors, components, power, embedded systems, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, and other related subjects. He is always open to ideas for coverage. Spencer has spent many years covering electronics for brands including Electronic Products, Electronic Buyers News, EE Times, Power Electronics, and electronics360. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him at @spencerchin.

Sign up for the Design News Daily newsletter.

You May Also Like