Minority Report In The OR

The movie “Minority Report” showed an interesting way to manipulate visual data using hand gestures. It required a special glove and used large transparent display surfaces. Microsoft has helped make this achievement both easy and cheap using their Kinect controller using a combination of visual and infrared imaging.

Now Siemens Healthcare has embraced this technology and developed a hands-off image manipulation system for use in the OR. The Kinect system projects an infrared grid into the room and records them using an offset camera. This allows the system to construct a 3D representation of objects in the room. The Kinect software can identify movements and objects using this data.

Siemens is using special software with the Kinect that allows it to detect and interpret fine movement of a surgeon’s hands in the operating room. The final product will allow a surgeon to browse, pan and zoom relevant patient images while they remain scrubbed and sterile, just by gesturing with their hands. This product will be tested in two hospitals in the near future.

Here’s my prediction: why will we need a big, clunky robotic system interface like DaVinci? Just have the surgeon sit in a comfortable chair, waving their hands to move the laparoscopic camera and instruments. I see especially interesting applications of this technology in military settings and in space!

Reference: Siemens Game Console Technology

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