Virtual reality, augmented reality, and the metaverse are all tools we’ve previously highlighted, showing how they’ve made employees and companies approach their work differently.

Now, a South Florida team hopes to use some of these tools to change the way a particular industry trains its employees.

There’s no shortage of technology we use every day, and that’s part of why South Florida sees itself as a tech hub, poised to rival places like Silicon Valley.

In Local 10’s new series, “Technically Speaking,” we shine a light on technology and innovation and how these tools are being used in South Florida in myriad ways to build the future.

Today we invite you into a virtual world in hopes of making the physical world much easier.

We are used to technology opening a door to another world, another reality of opportunity. We’ve seen examples ranging from gambling to real estate to even military training.

But what if in-depth forms of training could be made easier and more effective with something as easily accessible as a phone or iPad?

Edwin Rivera thinks he has the answer to this question.

Rivera was born and raised in Miami and is a former Marine Corps veteran with a passion for healthcare and helping others – a self-proclaimed problem solver.

Having wanted to be a pharmacist growing up, Rivera strove for that goal after returning from Operation Desert Storm, but after years in the industry, he hit a wall.

“That’s when I started realizing, ‘Hey, we have an outdated healthcare system and there’s a lot of technology needs,'” he said.

From there, Rivera transitioned into technology, spending more than a decade as an entrepreneur in space.

In 2021, he co-founded what he believes will change the medical field – “Reality Hub”.

Rivera describes the venture as “Netflix for Hospitals” – a way to use virtual or augmented reality to train hospital staff on a variety of equipment, devices and other items they use.

Whether defibrillators or surgical tools, everything is based on manufacturer and FDA guidelines.

It’s like having a technician in your pocket for instant hands-on training.

“We have augmented reality or virtual reality-based content that we make available for subscription to health systems,” Rivera said. “It’s absolutely cataloged and it’s a customizable catalog for this healthcare system.”

In a walkthrough, Rivera explains how this technology allows him to better understand a defibrillator, specifically overlaying his digital counterpart on it, all without having to touch it.

“Then, from there, we can go step by step. And you can do all kinds of different things, can’t you – something as simple as turning it on or replacing the battery,” he explained.

In another example, we can see a device used for spine surgery, without any sort of physical anchor for that same product.

Instead, it’s virtually presented through the screen in front of us with additional videos and instructions appearing along the way.

It is an expansive, yet practical way to approach what can be an extensive and costly process for health care systems. They would no longer need to conduct on-site training with a manufacturer at the risk of damaging medical devices.

“All content is from the hospital,” Rivera said. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. So we adhere to what is FDA approved in a pdf format and all we do is activate that pdf. That’s all we do.

Rivera believes his work is part of a larger tapestry of the South Florida tech scene.

The technology boom, he says, is here and the region is establishing itself as a privileged place of growth and influence.

“It’s in the city’s DNA. This community is very entrepreneurial, and it was only a matter of time before DNA matured into a real ecosystem that can help foster young startups. We are there now,” he said.

For Rivera, this journey has become a moment of closure – leaving health care due to its logistical complexity, to return with a proposed solution to the problems of previous years.

“As surprising as I’m back in healthcare, I’m back for a reason,” Rivera said. “I believe we can make a difference, and isn’t that the goal of all good startups? Believe in something they can make a difference in? We are no exception.

Currently, the company is in private beta with three health systems across the United States, according to Rivera.

He also tells us that they are in touch with several other health systems for their technology and plan to continue building partnerships to help further expansion in the near future.

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