Microsoft’s Kinect motion and voice-based controller accessory was launched with gaming in mind, but researchers have taken the technology in a number of different directions. German researchers transformed the Kinect into an interactive augmented reality X-ray machine, and Microsoft Research is now in the process of trialing the use of its Kinect sensor as a surgical assistant.
On May 8th, a surgeon at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ hospital in London used a custom Kinect installation to browse through medical images and real-time X-rays while repairing an aneurism in a patient’s aorta, NewScientist reports. The system created by Microsoft Research allows surgeons to call up images or perform a number of other tasks without assistance and without having to touch anything, thus avoiding any potential contamination.
“Up until now, I’d been calling out across the room to one of our technical assistants, asking them to manipulate the image, rotate one way, rotate the other, pan up, pan down, zoom in, zoom out,” says Tom Carrell, a consultant vascular surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’. With the Kinect, the surgeon says he had “very intuitive control.”
Carrell is eager to continue trials with the system. “I thought this was going to be a lot more awkward to start off with, but I was very pleased with the way it went today.”