Simple gestures are key to control of images vital to operations, says surgeon
Doctors in London are trialling the Kinect to aid them in performing keyhole surgery, according to the BBC.
St Thomas’ Hospital surgeon Tom Carrell said, “Until recently I was shouting out across the operating theatre to tell someone to go up, down, left right.
“But with the Kinect I’m able to get the position that I want quickly – and also without me having to handle non-sterile things like a keyboard or mouse during the procedure.”
Surgeons today are increasingly dependent on 3D images while performing complex operations. This means they must access the information on a computer. However, the performing surgeon cannot use the mouse and keyboard in case of contamination, which means that someone else must access the images, which can take time and be disruptive.
Surgeons said that the Kinect’s hand gesture and voice technology enables them a greater deal of control and flexibility while operating.
Carell added, “The sensitivity is the main thing, but it’s very simple gestures, like on a smart-phone. Once you know the gestures it’s very intuitive.”
The leap from video games to surgery was developed by Microsoft Research, with help from Lancaster University.
Microsoft Research spokesperson Helena Mentis spoke on the challenges that were encountered while developing the new features for the operating room.
She said, “In something like a surgical theater we’re interested in a very constrained area. You have surgeons and scrub nurses that are all very close to one another.
“You have a patient in front of you. You don’t have the ability to reach up and reach out as far because you’re sterile. You can’t touch anything that’s not already sterile.”
These are the first of several trials, and will soon be extended into other types of surgery.
President of British Society for Endovascular Therapy John Brennan described the potential of the Kinect in medicine.
He said, “I think these sort of advances in image manipulation, which is an integral part of the a lot of the minimally invasive stuff that is done nowadays – they are inevitably going to become more refined and more available.
“I would find it difficult to think of operating rooms in ten or 15 years time where these were just not the norm.”
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