Microsoft’s Kinect helps keep surgery sterile

Engineers based at Microsoft Research (Cambridge, UK) have developed a system based on the Microsoft Kinect that allows surgeons to manipulate images in the operating theater.

Microsoft’s Kinect helps keep surgery sterile
Microsoft’s Kinect helps keep surgery sterile

Engineers based at Microsoft Research (Cambridge, UK) have developed a system based on the Microsoft Kinect that allows surgeons to manipulate images in the operating theater.

With advances in medical imaging over the years, surgical procedures have become increasingly reliant on a range of digital imaging systems. Today, however, the surgical team must leave the sterile environment to directly manipulate a mouse and keyboard, introducing the possibility that contaminated material might then be transferred back into the operating theater.

But by designing a Kinect-based gesture interface to a visual navigation system, a scrubbed-up surgeon can use gestures in the air to view, control and manipulate the images without contaminating his or her hands. This saves precious time during critical procedures and allows the surgical team to easily use the best available imagery to guide their work.

The Microsoft engineers developed the system together with researchers at Lancaster University and Kings College London, as well as the vascular surgery department at Guy's and St. Thomas' Hospital in London, and the neurosurgery department at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

Working with such medical professionals, the Microsoft engineers hope to be able to refine the Kinect-based system as they gain a greater knowledge of the particular challenges faced by surgeons, as well as determine how the technology might alter surgical practice.

More information on the system can be found here.

-- by Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

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