This article was featured in the 2018 Annual Report. Dr. Yanof and Karl West were recently given the Outstanding Innovation in HIT award at the annual Innovator Awards Reception, as well.
A new era has begun in head-mounted display (HMDs) technology for augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) fueled by giants such as Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. With this mega-trend, researchers Karl West, Director, MDS and Jeffrey Yanof, PhD, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, Lerner Research Institute, recognized that this can help address unmet needs in minimally-invasive surgical visualization, not just gaming and education applications. The present standard-of care for surgical image-guidance is viewing 2D images on a flat screen; this suggested a need to develop applications for the HMDs that enable true 3D (360 degree) visualization. True 3D can lead to improved safety and effectiveness for planning, executing, and collaborating on surgical procedures.
They developed a first-of-its-kind medical AR platform by integrating medical imaging, mini-GPS tracking of surgical devices, and Microsoft HoloLens, a self-contained HMD with a holographic computer, light engines, and telecommunications equipment. The HMD 3D holographic images-- of the patient and tracked devices-- are projected in real-time on the patient, like x-ray vision, instead of a 2D monitor. Working side-by-side with clinicians at Cleveland Clinic, their medical AR platform accelerated translation of many AR applications from bench to pre-clinical or clinical evaluation, such as minimally invasive treatment of liver cancer, aortic aneurysms, and even planning for face transplant surgery. Most notably, Charles Martin, MD III, Imaging Institute, led the first-in-human study which evaluated the HoloLens-based system for percutaneous ablation of liver tumors.
Since 2D displays are presently ubiquitous, their AR platform can lead to innovation for a broad range of medical applications, paving the way to significant benefits for healthcare.