We compare two technological approaches to augmented reality for 3-D medical visualization: optical and video see-through devices. We provide a context to discuss the technology by reviewing several medical applications of augmented-reality re search efforts driven by real needs in the medical field, both in the United States and in Europe. We then discuss the issues for each approach, optical versus video, from both a technology and human-factor point of view. Finally, we point to potentially promising future developments of such devices including eye tracking and multifocus planes capabilities, as well as hybrid optical/video technology.

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