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

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

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.

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