Image that was controlled via Kinect during operation. (via Microsoft)
The Kinect imaging sensor has been used in some technically innovative projects such as Queen’s University’s 3D video conferencing system to Microsoft’s own augmented reality MirageTable. It’s even found its way into the medical field with a recent successful operation involving the repair of an aneurism at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital in London.
Surgeons involved in complex operations occasionally need to refer to reference material to help them through certain procedures. This is typically done by using an assistant to bring up the materials on a laptop so the doctor can remain at the operating table without having to waste time re-scrubbing because of contamination. This is where a new 3D imaging system that was developed by Microsoft Research Cambridge with Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital can be invaluable as it was used for the first time by assistant surgeon Tom Carrell to perform heart surgery.
Promotional image of the Kinect during surgery. (via Microsoft & St. Thomas' Hospital)
The system was used to compare a 3D model of an aorta with a live-feed 2D image of the patient's by using a fluoroscopic x-ray camera to help Carrell navigate through the delicate procedure. The 3D model could also be manipulated through a series of minimal gestures that include the ability to rotate the image using the palm of your hand and placing a marker simply by pointing and using a voice command. These simple gestures can be performed using only one hand leaving the other to continue the surgery while others, such as panning, rotating or zooming in/out need the use of both hands. Not only can the system be used in confined spaces commonly found in operating theaters, it also saves valuable time in eliminating the need to take a break to consult reference material.