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March 28, 2011

Surgeons using Xbox in the Operating Room

That's what one hospital in Toronto is doing, anyway, on a limited trial basis.

According to The Edge, Sunnybrook hospital in Toronto has begun using a hacked version of the Xbox motion-control device called Kinect to make surgeries more efficient, and potentially more beneficial to their patients.

For those of you who don't know (and many of my regular readers don't), Kinect is an Xbox peripheral where *you* are the controller. The system has a camera that tracks your movements, allowing it to process what you're doing and put it into the game. Unlike the Wii and the Playstation Move, you're not holding anything. The camera is reading *you*, not what's in your hand.



(Here's the device itself)




(Here it is in action)

It's an awesome piece of technology, and people have come up with a number of cool modifications to the system to do things like make 3-D maps of their rooms and stuff like that.

It was only a matter of time before people adapted it for other, more useful things.
"The Winnipeg Free Press reports that surgeons at Sunnybrook Hospital are using open-source Kinect drivers for PC to allow them to manipulate images of medical scans – something which normally involves a meticulous cleanup operation to ensure sterility around the patient, taking around 20 minutes each time.

Dr. Calvin Law, a surgical oncologist who helped integrate the system at the hospital, said checking of images often added an hour to surgical procedures. Using hand gestures to call up, rotate and zoom in on images, Law believes surgeons can be more precise in saving, for example, healthy tissue when removing a tumour, as well as saving time."
According to the paper, they've used the modified Kinect for six surgeries so far, and hope to make it a hospital-wide procedure soon.

Is this cool, or what? They're already doing remote surgeries where the surgeon doesn't even have to be in the room. While this does require the surgeon to be present, it's amazing that they can save time like this. The less time you're under the knife and under anesthesia, the less time there is for something to go wrong.

And, you know, maybe some of the other people in the room can play some Dance Central if there's a particular instance where they're not needed right at that moment.



It's a win-win!

(h/t: The Official Xbox Magazine podcast, where host Ryan McCaffrey mentioned the Edge article)

3 comments:

  1. Technology continues to amaze me, guess at this point anything is possible. Just hope the doctor doesn't confuse the game and surgery systems, wouldn't be good :)

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  2. @David: Yeah, that would be a bad thing. Though if a surgeon manages to successfully remove a spleen *and* score 100% on "Evacuate the Dance Floor," then he should be considered a god. :)

    @Debbi: Yes, I thought so too! Maybe you need one in the lab. :)

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