A new augmented reality (AR) system has been designed to help prepare doctors and other medical professionals gain experience needed to handle situations they are not familiar with. When casualties occur far away from hospitals, doctors on the ground often have to deal with situations that are not common and in some cases, require in depth knowledge in order to resolve effective. Now, thanks to the power of immersive technology, providing that training will become easier and more cost effective.
As reported by The Engineer, currently a system called Telestrator is leveraged which enables a mentor or member of staff in a hospital to draw onto a video screen and direct the field . It is similar in workings to the technology used during sports broadcasts in which presenter draw on the screen to help explain something to the viewers at home during replays. The trouble with this method is that it requires the medic to move their focus between the screen and the patient which can cause miscommunication and not help in treatment.
Now, Juan Wachs and the team at Purdue have proposed replacing the technology with a new AR solution that will leverage the existing system but make it more suitable for use out in the field. The AR system consists of a head-mounted display (HMD) which streams the footage back to the controller and is then able to be drawn on and edited as needed. The system also makes use of computer vision algorithms to track and align the marks and notes made by the mentor with the surgical region in front of the field surgeon. This ensures that no matter where the wear is located in relation to the notes, they will always be able to see them.
“Our technology allows trainees to remain focused on the surgical procedure and reduces the potential for errors during surgery,” Said Edgar Rojas Muñoz, a doctoral student in industrial engineering, who worked on the project.
The technology has already been put through clinical evaluation and in the next few months will be tested at a Navy base in Virginia, in which it will be used within simulated battlefield situations, before then moving onto the next phase of research and evaluation. You can see a video demonstration of the system below and for all the latest on it, keep reading VRFocus.