Xbox Kinect helps surgeons in the operating room

Welcome Kinect, the newest member of the surgical team.
Written by Denise Amrich, Contributor

One of the first things a new nursing student learns is how to maintain clean technique when working with patients. Later on, the nursing student steps it up and learns surgical technique -- the amped-up, uber-sterile version of clean technique. The idea is that our environment is rife with disease-causing organisms. There are certain techniques that can be practiced to protect our patients (and ourselves) from infection.

Maintaining a pristine sterile field is extremely important in the operating room. The problem is that doctors sometimes have to step in and out of the sterile field to gather additional information on the state of a patient in surgery.

One such example is the operation of a CT imager, which may require a surgeon to step out of the surgical field to operate the computer with a keyboard and mouse (you don't even want to know how many germs are on a typical keyboard and mouse). The surgeon then has to scrub up to the elbows once again, and then re-enter the surgical field. Rinse, wash, and repeat as needed.

Because of the time and hassle involved in re-scrubbing each time the imager is used, doctors may not use it as often as they might like, or rely on their recollection of the last image they saw.

The following video shows how doctors at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Canada are using the Kinect to solve the "touching dirty things" problem. Since they can just gesture in the air, they can control the computer and adjust images without ever having to sacrifice the sterile field.

Watch the video. It's amazing, and shows where medicine might go with a little help from Kinect. Welcome Kinect, the newest member of the surgical team.

Was that not the coolest use of the Kinect ever? Have you seen any other amazing innovations with the Kinect lately? Let us know in the TalkBacks below.

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