Fancy trying your hand at surgery? Google Glass has an app for that

Fancy trying your hand at surgery? Google Glass has an app for that

Summary: Spanish developers Droiders have created an app for surgeons in training that helps simulate medical procedures.

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Developers at Spanish outfit Droiders have launched an augmented reality app for Google Glass to simulate surgical procedures for surgeons in training.

Droiders last year made a streaming app for Glass to live stream an actual surgical operation, and have now followed it up with MedicAR, an app which combines augmented reality with Google's networked specs.

Dr Homero Rivas, assistant professor of surgery (digestive surgery) and director of innovative surgery at Stanford University, recently demonstrated the technology using an anatomical human model. He performed an "open reduction and internal fixation of a left complex clavicular fracture" on the model.

To generate the AR images based on the human body in Glass, the application relies on a target area being temporarily tattooed on the patient's skin. The demonstration on the model shows a skin incision, parting of the skin, the surgical procedure and then the stitching up of the incision.

MedicAR builds on the company's broader work on AR for Glass, which can be seen here and spans games, construction and other applications.

Last year Droiders worked with the Cemtro Clinic, Google and Telefonica to use Glass to cast a first person perspective of a doctor performing an operation as part of a remote learning masterclass. The surgery was cast to 300 hospitals and universities around the world who connected to the surgery room via Google Hangouts.

Glass used for surgical training purposes puts a different spin on previous investigations of the technology in surgeries.

Dr Pierre Theodore, a cardiothoracic surgeon who tested Glass in surgery for three months last year, found it was useful for bringing up X-ray images, which he might otherwise have to leave the room for to access on a desktop.

However, he also noted limitations to its use and found problems with voice commands as well as difficulties turning the device off, which usually requires a swipe of fingers that, for a surgeon, are meant to be protected by sterilised gloves.

More on Google Glass

Topics: Android, Emerging Tech, Google, EU

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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11 comments
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  • Maybe I'm old fashioned, but...

    ...if someone is cutting on me, I'd prefer that they have BOTH eyes on ME, thank you very much.
    Userama
    • Did you read the bit about "simulate[d] surgical procedures"?

      This application is "to simulate surgical procedures for surgeons in training". Didn't you read that part?

      Hint: It was cunningly hidden in the very first line of the article.
      Zogg
      • In some places...

        ...GG is being used during actual surgeries. That's the situation I had in mind. May be OK for training, but for the real thing, thumbs down.
        Userama
        • And if you watch/listen to the video...

          ... then you'll hear that this technology has already been implemented on mobile phones.

          By rights, this should scare you even more because if the surgeon is looking at his/her mobile phone then *neither* eye can be on you.
          Zogg
      • And yet you missed where it said

        "Glass used for surgical training purposes puts a different spin on previous investigations of the technology in surgeries.

        Dr. Pierre Theodore, a cardiothoracic surgeon who tested Glass in surgery for three months last year..."

        It was cunningly hidden in the very last paragraph of the article.
        William.Farrel
        • So what.

          Would you prefer the surgeon have to stop what he is doing to triple check an MRI to verify that you don't have an unusual physiologic variation?

          Or to have him cut in a not very good place just because that is where "everybody" has that procedure done.
          jessepollard
          • Jesse, I was pointing out something that Zogg may have missed

            as to why Userama made the statement he did.

            Even though this article is indeed about "simulated" procedure, Userama was commenting on the actual use of Glasses in surgery, as pointed out in the final paragraph, where Dr. Pierre Theodore had tested it during actual surgery.

            Your post is 180 degrees off in reference to what I said.
            William.Farrel
          • Rubbish, you were just "defending the hive"!

            The article was describing using Glass for surgical training.

            The point of Dr Theodore's comment was to provide counterpoint to the current study, from someone who had relevant experience. And even Dr Theodore said that he found Glass useful, although with some limitations.

            Whereas Userama was caught red-handed posting off-topic on an article that he hadn't even bothered to read.

            And frankly, what Userama said was complete FUD anyway. Glass is an "augmented reality" device, and what matters is whether or not it allows *the surgeon* to perform his/her job better. So why not believe a surgeon?
            Zogg
          • Just defending the hive?

            And what hive would that be?
            William.Farrel
        • That was a previous trial, I think.

          "Dr Pierre Theodore, a cardiothoracic surgeon who tested Glass in surgery for three months last year"...

          So like it says, he *tested* it. And that was *last year*. Do you notice the cunning use of the past tense?
          Zogg
  • Always amazed at what people do not read/understand before they comment

    Thought the article, though rather brief, was quite clear. Am always amazed at some of the usual negative comments from those who comment without reading/thinking/understanding and consequently miss significant points.
    rmrogan@...