Doctors Using Microsoft Kinect Sensor for Brain Surgery

In a scene reminiscent of “Minority Report” or “Johnny Mnemonic,” Sunnybrook Hospital doctors are using Microsoft’s Kinect sensor in a key role during complicated surgical procedures. According to Denise Amrich, a registered nurse and health care advisor for the U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute, “The problem is that doctors sometimes have to step in and out of the sterile field to gather additional information on the state of a patient in surgery.”

The “sterile field” is the germ free operating environment that surgical procedures are performed in. In order for doctors to reference CAT or CT scans for image guidance, they have to step out of the operational theatre, use a computer to pull up relevant data and images, and then go through the scrubbing process to decontaminate themselves again prior to re-entering surgery. This method is not only time consuming and introduces the possibility (however small) of contamination, but also requires that the doctor works from memory of the viewed information.

Enter Microsoft’s Kinect sensor.

Through the enterprising efforts of engineer Jamie Tremaine and other colleagues, they were able to hack together software that allowed the Kinect sensor to act as a virtual mouse connected to a PC used for image guidance during surgery. This setup now allows doctors to manipulate and control the onscreen images they need directly from the operating theatre, without having to leave the sterile field. The Kinect sensor picks up the doctor’s hand motions and translates them into virtual mouse controls which allows direct image manipulation with the visual results displayed on a monitor in the operating room.

To more and more people, gaming is a way of life. Microsoft’s Kinect sensor, along with some clever programming has taken that cliche to a whole new level.

Source: CBS News

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