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Medicine Microsoft

Using Kinect For a Touch-Free Interface In Surgery 53

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-all-in-the-wrist dept.
cylonlover writes "While Microsoft probably isn't thrilled open source drivers for its Kinect have led to it being used for 3D virtual sex games, a new application for the device developed by members of the Virtopsy research project at the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Bern in Switzerland is likely to be more welcome. The team has developed a functional prototype using Kinect that provides users with a hands-free way to review radiological images."
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Using Kinect For a Touch-Free Interface In Surgery

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  • by Tablizer (95088)

    Whatever you do, please keep this technology away from TSA!

  • Sterile (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan East (318230) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @12:31AM (#34649486) Homepage Journal

    The summary fails to connect the viewing of radiographs to surgery. The point of this is to allow interaction with a computer without having to touch anything, in order to select, view, zoom, pan, etc radiographs. Hands-free is fantastic in this case, as it maintains a sterile environment, and keeps blood from being smeared all over physical computer controls. Obviously there would be many uses for this in surgery besides just viewing radiographs, but that is a good place to start.

    • Re:Sterile (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 23, 2010 @12:47AM (#34649548)

      This isn't hands-free. Hands-free would mean that you can use the interface while doing something else with your hands. It is touch-free.

    • Not only that, but the headline gave me the impression that surgery was being performed using a Kinect.
    • Re:Sterile (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DigiShaman (671371) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @01:17AM (#34649656) Homepage

      Auto mechanics could find good use out of this technology as well. No need to drop the tools and/or get the console all greasy. I'm sure it would work great for mechanics working in aviation as well. No need to pick up that book of schematics anymore.

      • by merreborn (853723)

        Auto mechanics could find good use out of this technology as well. No need to drop the tools and/or get the console all greasy

        All the mechanics I've seen just cover their keyboards in plastic. Cheap, simple and reliable. Trying to replace 50 cents worth of plastic with hundreds of dollars worth of electronics would be an uphill battle.

    • Re:Sterile (Score:5, Insightful)

      by arivanov (12034) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @02:58AM (#34649946) Homepage

      Kind'a

      The point is to give a pink slip to the (usually senior) qualified nurse or junior radiographer who are sitting at the manual controls now and doing exactly the same function on surgeon request.

      C'est la vie. Such are the inevitable results of technological progress...

      • Or, for a less cynical viewpoint, to allow said nurse or radiographer to be redeployed to somewhere else in the hospital where they can be of more use (and considering the current shortage of medical personnel, that can't be a bad thing).
        • +1 Naively Optimistic
          • If a $1000 device (after the certification and installation) allows a $100/hour person to be used somewhere else, that device pays for itself pretty quickly. Obviously, a human is much more versatile than some image processing kit, but if ORs have people whose sole function is manipulating images and that job can be replaced, the decision is a no-brainer. Whether you can use the person elsewhere is, frankly, not material - hospitals are not make-work operations. Medical care is far too expensive - I'd much
      • by Sky Cry (872584)
        You know, if we eliminate all the jobs by automating everything, we get the benefit of all the work being done without us having to work at all. In the end everybody wins.
        • Not without a social and cultural revolution.

          I would put a link to Marshall Brain's "Manna" story here, but the stupid lame Slashdot Javascript somehow disables cut & paste in Chrome. Grr.

          Essentially - if we have a technological revolution that allows robotic labour to do most human jobs, in our current model of capitalism, most people are screwed, because your only value to a capitalist system is the value of your labour (although your compensation for that labour is usually orthogonal to it's actual v

      • by initialE (758110)

        You'd be an idiot if you just sacked them instead of finding other ways to utilize their skills and experience. These are not jobs at the same level of a burger flipper, they are highly trained people who hopefully have a diverse set of skills and talents. Technology is not meant to make people redundant, it is to free them up to be even more productive.

      • by wwood_98 (852037)

        The circulating nurses in my OR are excellent at being circulating nurses, not at being CT scan navigators. It is quite painful to watch a nurse "scroll down to that inflammatory process in the right lower quadrant". It is a task that would take me 1-2 seconds with a mouse, but takes seemingly an eternity for someone not accustomed to interpreting CT scans.

        Trust me, moving that task to the surgeon would not come CLOSE to eliminating the job of the circulating nurse. The vast majority of their job has noth

    • by Nyder (754090)

      The summary fails to connect the viewing of radiographs to surgery. The point of this is to allow interaction with a computer without having to touch anything, in order to select, view, zoom, pan, etc radiographs. Hands-free is fantastic in this case, as it maintains a sterile environment, and keeps blood from being smeared all over physical computer controls. Obviously there would be many uses for this in surgery besides just viewing radiographs, but that is a good place to start.

      yes, because foot pedals would be too obvious to use instead...

  • Why did the Wii get practically ignored, but Kinect gets all the attention. I mean aside from the badonkadonk-sized Microsoft PR/hype machine. I'm guessing the simplicity of the device with regard to how similar the 360 is to a standard PC, but there has to be more to it than that.
    • I don't think it was ignored, it's just there are fewer applications for the Wii-mote in medicine.

      Maybe when surgeons find a reason to break televisions in theatre, Wii will get another look.

    • by oztiks (921504)

      Because ..... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAhIqX6lSCs [youtube.com]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The Wii was not ignored - it was a very adaptable controller. Just do a search for Wii remote hacks. However it is completely different technology from the Kinect. The Wii tracks the movements of a controller. The Kinect generates a realtime 3D map of its environment and tracks moving objects, not just a controller.

      • I never knew that, and now I have the answer I was looking for. Thanks. I must acquire one of these now.
    • It's quite difficult to sterilize a Wii controller - it takes a lot of time, because you can't use the typical heat methods to do the job. The Kinect system can use existing sterile equipment so that surgeons can manipulate things off the field without having to scrub out and scrub back in.
      • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @01:53AM (#34649740)

        Which is one of the reason there's so much excitement. The Wiimote has a somewhat imprecise accelerometer that is uses to measure gross movements, and a reasonably high resolution IR camera in the front that it uses to look for two dots (that its bar generates) to do precise aiming. Ok, cool, and there are many hacks out there for it. However Kinect takes it all a step further. It uses the same kind of IR camera (hell might be the same camera in both units) but instead of looking for a couple dots, it projects a whole field of them. That allows it to be stationary, and to measure things in 3D that it sees. This is then combine with other information from a visible light camera.

        So as the parent said, for this application the interest is in the "hands off no sterilization" thing but in general it is because Kinect is more advanced. What you can do with it is cooler in general, things like realtime 3D capture (though at a rather low resolution) and so on. That is going to lead to more interest.

        You have to realize that what the Wiimote does has kinda been done before. Gyration, among others, have made motion sensing controllers that you can use. Gyration makes mice. Their Pro Air mouse is a wireless optical mouse, when on a desk, and then becomes a motion sensing mouse when lifted up. You just tilt it around to control things (it has a trigger so you can tell it when you want it to move the pointer, and when you are just moving around). Thus while there is some interest in the Wiimote, in part because it is much cheaper than devices like that, it is really nothing new.

        The Kinect is the first device, at least the first consumer one, that can do a good job of tracking what it happening completely visually and passively. You don't have to hold anything or have anything on you (like a reflective strip). It just watches what you do and can get useful 3D data from that, which can then be processed by programs. That's pretty amazing.

        • by Ihlosi (895663)
          The Kinect is the first device, at least the first consumer one, that can do a good job of tracking what it happening completely visually and passively. You don't have to hold anything or have anything on you (like a reflective strip). It just watches what you do and can get useful 3D data from that, which can then be processed by programs. That's pretty amazing.

          The luddite in me wonders if you can use Kinect to create a battery-free wireless mouse by pointing the camera at the mousepad and using an old

          • That's a pretty damn good idea, albeit a very expensive method to simply remove battery weight. Also, I'd be very surprised if the resolution was as good as today's optical mice.

            I could see that being useful in a living room environment for use with an HTPC though.

    • by Journe (1493651)

      From my experience, a big part is not needing a wiimote. It also tracks movement extremely well. I'm a rather portly gentleman who tends to wear loose flappy clothes, and it has no trouble dropping a skeleton overlay over my limbs.

      I can't see using it in something delicate like surgery, though. I do notice a definite bit of lag with the kinect that the wii doesn't get, but I digress. It's a much more complex piece of equipment, and far more worthy than I originally deemed it upon learning I wasn't going to

  • Worst. Title. Ever.

  • a hands-free way to review radiological images

    Hands-free [gizmag.com], eh? I do not think that term means what you think it means.

  • Surgeon: we are sorry, he is dead
    Wife: what happened, a medical error?
    Surgeon: not at all, just another MS bug. But a patch should be delivered soon..
  • by Sun (104778) <shachar@shemesh.biz> on Thursday December 23, 2010 @02:17AM (#34649820) Homepage

    I should just point out that PrimeSense, the hardware manufacturer behind the Kinect, also has open source drivers, as well (closed source, free of charge) libraries for skeleton detection and other stuff. Info in this [slashdot.org], still pending, Slashdot article.

    Shachar

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