Friday, 25 Mar, 2011 Technology

Doctors Use Microsoft's Kinect in Surgery Rooms to Save Time and Avoid Contamination


A group of surgeons at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto hospital decided to use video game technology in order to save time and avoid contamination in the operating room.

The doctors started using Microsoft's Xbox Kinect to manipulate medical images during operations.

With the help of hands-free gaming console, surgeons use hand gestures in order to zoom in and out and freeze different images without having to leave the operation room.

It is worth mentioning that in order to view MRI or CT images on a computer, doctors have to leave the sterile operation room. According to Dr. Calvin Law, each time a surgeon leaves the operation room to consult an image, they lose 20 minutes. To enter back, they have to go through a scrupulous cleanup to avoid any contamination.

Law, who works as a surgical oncologist with the hospital's gastrointestinal cancer team, was the one who helped integrate Kinect into the operating room.

In addition to saving time, the technology also helps surgeons remain focused and lower the risk of contamination.

It would be interesting to note that the idea to integrate the technology into the operating room came to engineers - Jamie Tremaine, Greg Brigley and Matt Strickland. The latter is also a general surgery resident, working at the University of Toronto. He was the first who decided to do something in order to help surgeons save time when viewing images during surgery.

The console represents a depth camera, being able to see in 3D. It generates a digital skeleton of the patient captured on camera and then tracks the motions of the skeleton. The movements are then translated into commands.

Surgeons already managed to test the new technology during 6 surgeries. According to Law, the team plans to use the gesture-control technology in other parts of the hospital, reports CJAD.

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