Henry Malmgren writes "Last week at the South Pole research station, we successfully completed knee surgery using a video over IP link back to the United States. The article is light on technical details, but what we did was to use a Polycom VTC unit to send a video signal to Raytheon Polar Services HQ in Colorado. Our signal went primarily over a Marisat satellite at T1 speeds, and then HQ redistributed the video to Boston via a dedicated ISDN line. We had signal problems several times during the transmission with Marisat, so we had to switch to a NASA TDRS satellite towards the end of the surgery. We also used an Iridium phone as a voice backup for the times when we couldn't get decent quality over either bird. During the surgery there were three cameras that we used to send back video to the states. One was the built in camera on the VTC unit, a second was a handheld Sony 8mm unit, and a third was a black and white "Doc Cam". This was a head mounted camera with a LED light unit that was built on station by our Senior Communications Technican, Jon Berry. This allowed the transmission of video from the Doctor's perspective. Unfortunately, while the Doc cam worked great locally, and we got great recordings of the surgery from it, it didn't work well over the satellite link. The camera view jumped around so much that it didn't compress well over the satellite link. The best video was obtained by putting the hand held camera on a tall tripod which was able to look directly into the surgical wound."
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