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Using Kinect For a Touch-Free Interface In Surgery

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the it's-all-in-the-wrist dept.

Medicine 53

cylonlover writes "While Microsoft probably isn't thrilled open source drivers for its Kinect have led to it being used for 3D virtual sex games, a new application for the device developed by members of the Virtopsy research project at the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Bern in Switzerland is likely to be more welcome. The team has developed a functional prototype using Kinect that provides users with a hands-free way to review radiological images."

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TSA (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34649476)

Whatever you do, please keep this technology away from TSA!

Re:TSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34649502)

Wait. I thought we're trying to encourage the TSA to keep their hands off us.

Re:TSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34649542)

As an alien abductee, I should note that being groped and probed by machines is far worse than by people or other beings.

Re:TSA (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 3 years ago | (#34651614)

We are encouraging the entire federal government to read an obscure memo entitled "Constitution of the United States of America"

Re:TSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34650806)

Damn, and here I was about to make a joke about my balls being a touch free interface without the touch free part. Way to ruin it for me.

Sterile (5, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | more than 3 years ago | (#34649486)

The summary fails to connect the viewing of radiographs to surgery. The point of this is to allow interaction with a computer without having to touch anything, in order to select, view, zoom, pan, etc radiographs. Hands-free is fantastic in this case, as it maintains a sterile environment, and keeps blood from being smeared all over physical computer controls. Obviously there would be many uses for this in surgery besides just viewing radiographs, but that is a good place to start.

Re:Sterile (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34649548)

This isn't hands-free. Hands-free would mean that you can use the interface while doing something else with your hands. It is touch-free.

Re:Sterile (1)

BlackBloq (702158) | more than 3 years ago | (#34659774)

I very well could be if they chose to use voice commands duhh :P

Re:Sterile (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 3 years ago | (#34649590)

Not only that, but the headline gave me the impression that surgery was being performed using a Kinect.

Re:Sterile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34649598)

Sure it will prevent blood from being smeared all over a keyboard and mouse, but thats probably still better then flinging blood all over the place

Re:Sterile (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34651044)

True, but I think you'd want to design the user interface to take somewhat more subtle cues than the doctor jumping on the patient and dancing the funky chicken. Like, for example, he raises one hand a few inches over the surgical area. Tilting the hand pans the image around, clenched fist zooms in, outstretched fingers zoom out. Something that doesn't involve painting the walls with O-Negative.

Re:Sterile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34649632)

Though the idea of a surgeon waving sharp metal things about does disturb me a little...

Also, will we hear reports of surgeons embedding scalpels and other assorted medical implements in screens? Might need to start looking at wrist straps!!

Re:Sterile (4, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34649656)

Auto mechanics could find good use out of this technology as well. No need to drop the tools and/or get the console all greasy. I'm sure it would work great for mechanics working in aviation as well. No need to pick up that book of schematics anymore.

Re:Sterile (1)

merreborn (853723) | more than 3 years ago | (#34653774)

Auto mechanics could find good use out of this technology as well. No need to drop the tools and/or get the console all greasy

All the mechanics I've seen just cover their keyboards in plastic. Cheap, simple and reliable. Trying to replace 50 cents worth of plastic with hundreds of dollars worth of electronics would be an uphill battle.

Re:Sterile (4, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34649946)

Kind'a

The point is to give a pink slip to the (usually senior) qualified nurse or junior radiographer who are sitting at the manual controls now and doing exactly the same function on surgeon request.

C'est la vie. Such are the inevitable results of technological progress...

Re:Sterile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34650468)

Hey, if it means I can get my boobs, eh, I mean my girlfriend's boobs, enlarged cheaper, I'm all for it!

Re:Sterile (2)

Alicat1194 (970019) | more than 3 years ago | (#34650474)

Or, for a less cynical viewpoint, to allow said nurse or radiographer to be redeployed to somewhere else in the hospital where they can be of more use (and considering the current shortage of medical personnel, that can't be a bad thing).

Re:Sterile (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34650966)

+1 Naively Optimistic

Re:Sterile (1)

BBTaeKwonDo (1540945) | more than 3 years ago | (#34652756)

If a $1000 device (after the certification and installation) allows a $100/hour person to be used somewhere else, that device pays for itself pretty quickly. Obviously, a human is much more versatile than some image processing kit, but if ORs have people whose sole function is manipulating images and that job can be replaced, the decision is a no-brainer. Whether you can use the person elsewhere is, frankly, not material - hospitals are not make-work operations. Medical care is far too expensive - I'd much rather see technology reduce costs instead of driving them higher as it so often does.

Re:Sterile (1)

Sky Cry (872584) | more than 3 years ago | (#34650476)

You know, if we eliminate all the jobs by automating everything, we get the benefit of all the work being done without us having to work at all. In the end everybody wins.

Re:Sterile (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34650778)

Not without a social and cultural revolution.

I would put a link to Marshall Brain's "Manna" story here, but the stupid lame Slashdot Javascript somehow disables cut & paste in Chrome. Grr.

Essentially - if we have a technological revolution that allows robotic labour to do most human jobs, in our current model of capitalism, most people are screwed, because your only value to a capitalist system is the value of your labour (although your compensation for that labour is usually orthogonal to it's actual value).

Whether it's the Roddenberry "the economics of the future are somewhat ... different", or Marshall's "Australia Project", a technological revolution in robotic labour must come with a social revolution, or dark times are ahead for many of us.

Re:Sterile (1)

initialE (758110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34651662)

You'd be an idiot if you just sacked them instead of finding other ways to utilize their skills and experience. These are not jobs at the same level of a burger flipper, they are highly trained people who hopefully have a diverse set of skills and talents. Technology is not meant to make people redundant, it is to free them up to be even more productive.

Re:Sterile (1)

wwood_98 (852037) | more than 3 years ago | (#34652422)

The circulating nurses in my OR are excellent at being circulating nurses, not at being CT scan navigators. It is quite painful to watch a nurse "scroll down to that inflammatory process in the right lower quadrant". It is a task that would take me 1-2 seconds with a mouse, but takes seemingly an eternity for someone not accustomed to interpreting CT scans.

Trust me, moving that task to the surgeon would not come CLOSE to eliminating the job of the circulating nurse. The vast majority of their job has nothing to do with navigating radiographs. But it would speed up the operation (good) and make things MUCH less frustrating for the surgeon (also good).

Mod parent down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34655358)

I'm a surgeon, and the parent poster hasn't the slightest clue what he is talking about. This would just free up the circulating nurse to do his/her actual job, rather than messing with a computer because the surgeon is scrubbed and can't touch it.

I'm not sure which is more depressing:
1. That people feel compelled to post opinions in the complete absence of actual knowledge.
or
2. That /. is filled with other equally clueless folks who consider such BS to warrant "+5, Insightful"

David Bruce

Re:Sterile (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 3 years ago | (#34656404)

The summary fails to connect the viewing of radiographs to surgery. The point of this is to allow interaction with a computer without having to touch anything, in order to select, view, zoom, pan, etc radiographs. Hands-free is fantastic in this case, as it maintains a sterile environment, and keeps blood from being smeared all over physical computer controls. Obviously there would be many uses for this in surgery besides just viewing radiographs, but that is a good place to start.

yes, because foot pedals would be too obvious to use instead...

Why? (0)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 3 years ago | (#34649488)

Why did the Wii get practically ignored, but Kinect gets all the attention. I mean aside from the badonkadonk-sized Microsoft PR/hype machine. I'm guessing the simplicity of the device with regard to how similar the 360 is to a standard PC, but there has to be more to it than that.

Re:Why? (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 3 years ago | (#34649514)

I don't think it was ignored, it's just there are fewer applications for the Wii-mote in medicine.

Maybe when surgeons find a reason to break televisions in theatre, Wii will get another look.

Re:Why? (1)

oztiks (921504) | more than 3 years ago | (#34649538)

Because ..... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAhIqX6lSCs [youtube.com]

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34649566)

"Song used without permission. Please don't sue me." Classic sign of the times!

Re:Why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34649586)

The Wii was not ignored - it was a very adaptable controller. Just do a search for Wii remote hacks. However it is completely different technology from the Kinect. The Wii tracks the movements of a controller. The Kinect generates a realtime 3D map of its environment and tracks moving objects, not just a controller.

Re:Why? (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 3 years ago | (#34649644)

I never knew that, and now I have the answer I was looking for. Thanks. I must acquire one of these now.

Re:Why? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34649676)

It's quite difficult to sterilize a Wii controller - it takes a lot of time, because you can't use the typical heat methods to do the job. The Kinect system can use existing sterile equipment so that surgeons can manipulate things off the field without having to scrub out and scrub back in.

Also the Kinect is a lot more advanced (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34649740)

Which is one of the reason there's so much excitement. The Wiimote has a somewhat imprecise accelerometer that is uses to measure gross movements, and a reasonably high resolution IR camera in the front that it uses to look for two dots (that its bar generates) to do precise aiming. Ok, cool, and there are many hacks out there for it. However Kinect takes it all a step further. It uses the same kind of IR camera (hell might be the same camera in both units) but instead of looking for a couple dots, it projects a whole field of them. That allows it to be stationary, and to measure things in 3D that it sees. This is then combine with other information from a visible light camera.

So as the parent said, for this application the interest is in the "hands off no sterilization" thing but in general it is because Kinect is more advanced. What you can do with it is cooler in general, things like realtime 3D capture (though at a rather low resolution) and so on. That is going to lead to more interest.

You have to realize that what the Wiimote does has kinda been done before. Gyration, among others, have made motion sensing controllers that you can use. Gyration makes mice. Their Pro Air mouse is a wireless optical mouse, when on a desk, and then becomes a motion sensing mouse when lifted up. You just tilt it around to control things (it has a trigger so you can tell it when you want it to move the pointer, and when you are just moving around). Thus while there is some interest in the Wiimote, in part because it is much cheaper than devices like that, it is really nothing new.

The Kinect is the first device, at least the first consumer one, that can do a good job of tracking what it happening completely visually and passively. You don't have to hold anything or have anything on you (like a reflective strip). It just watches what you do and can get useful 3D data from that, which can then be processed by programs. That's pretty amazing.

Re:Also the Kinect is a lot more advanced (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 3 years ago | (#34650952)

The Kinect is the first device, at least the first consumer one, that can do a good job of tracking what it happening completely visually and passively. You don't have to hold anything or have anything on you (like a reflective strip). It just watches what you do and can get useful 3D data from that, which can then be processed by programs. That's pretty amazing.

The luddite in me wonders if you can use Kinect to create a battery-free wireless mouse by pointing the camera at the mousepad and using an old optical mouse with the cable removed to simulate the look and feel of an actual mouse to the user?

Re:Also the Kinect is a lot more advanced (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | more than 3 years ago | (#34651544)

That's a pretty damn good idea, albeit a very expensive method to simply remove battery weight. Also, I'd be very surprised if the resolution was as good as today's optical mice.

I could see that being useful in a living room environment for use with an HTPC though.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34650110)

"Why did the Wii get practically ignored, but Kinect gets all the attention."

Because contrary to fanboy trolls proclaiming the opposite, Kinect is actually a pretty big step forward in interfaces.

The problem with Move and Wii controllers is that you need to fill your hands to use them, with Kinect you don't. This means Move and the Wii controllers are limited to applications where you must have your hands full with the controllers, whilst Kinect works hands free, or with whatever you need to be holding at the time. In this particular case it's good for surgeons because if they're wearing gloves in the middle of operating and have their hands covered in the patients blood the last thing they want to do is get a Wii mote covered in blood, because it's not easy to sterilise afterwards. In contrast, Kinect works without ever having to touch anything or even having to put your scalpel down or whatever.

Other applications stem from the camera, again whilst fanboy trolls just liken it to the Eye toy- a simple 2D camera, that's simply not the case. It sees in 3D and you can build 3D models from what it sees- if you had say 4 of them all around you you could potentially build a motion capture system as good as any of the professional ones that cost thousands.

If you look at Kinect with a degree of hatred because you're a fanboy you'll miss the fact that it does actually open a lot of doors for new types of interaction- the Wii mote did too for sure, but to a much lesser extent. The response towards Kinect you cite is in itself evidence enough of the fact that many people recognise the potential of it.

Re:Why? (1)

Journe (1493651) | more than 3 years ago | (#34657434)

From my experience, a big part is not needing a wiimote. It also tracks movement extremely well. I'm a rather portly gentleman who tends to wear loose flappy clothes, and it has no trouble dropping a skeleton overlay over my limbs.

I can't see using it in something delicate like surgery, though. I do notice a definite bit of lag with the kinect that the wii doesn't get, but I digress. It's a much more complex piece of equipment, and far more worthy than I originally deemed it upon learning I wasn't going to be finding an xbox that didn't come bundled with it. It's worth having, if only to hold for when some decent open source software gets release.

Not to mention it's the same price as a wii, but offers beaucoup options for those of us who don't enjoy only wiimote gaming.

3D virtual sex games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34649498)

The summary fails to provide the relevant link(s).

Do I look like a doctor?

Re:3D virtual sex games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34649588)

Exactly! Finally a reason to buy a Microsoft product!

Re:3D virtual sex games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34649722)

Well, /. lately covered a sex game being rejected by MS, but that had nothing to do with open-source drivers. I'd guess TFS is just wrong, but if it is true, we NEED that link, please!

I'll Be Back! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34649520)

The tech-head they have in clip has a definite Arnie voice!

Surgery != Viewing Images (1)

adamdoyle (1665063) | more than 3 years ago | (#34649544)

Worst. Title. Ever.

Worst. Reading. Comprehension. Ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34649730)

The title is fine, it is you that fail.

Re:Worst. Reading. Comprehension. Ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34650568)

No, no. It is you, don't worry.

Hands-free, eh? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34649562)

a hands-free way to review radiological images

Hands-free [gizmag.com] , eh? I do not think that term means what you think it means.

Re:Hands-free, eh? (1)

kkwst2 (992504) | more than 3 years ago | (#34649654)

Inconceivable! (Anybody want some pork and beans?)

Hypocricy! Shenanigans! Unacceptable! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34649638)

So they put a stop to someone trying to make an entertaining, sexy time game yet they let this crap fly?

I mean, they are saying they want to look at and interact with pictures of your INSIDES! The porn game did not even aspire to go this far! They just wanted to make something that we would probably all buy. Yet, a bunch of nerds are suddenly geniuses for developing something that only they will probably use and nobody will buy. You think hospitals have a budget for the xbox needed to even use the kinect? Do you think ANYONE is going to buy this surgery "game"? Get real.

I'm convinced Microsoft really is bad at making business decisions. Who do they have working there, dopes in suits?

And no, I didn't read anything other than the subject. Why should I?

Modern medecine (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 3 years ago | (#34649660)

Surgeon: we are sorry, he is dead
Wife: what happened, a medical error?
Surgeon: not at all, just another MS bug. But a patch should be delivered soon..

Re:Modern medecine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34650196)

That would be a really sad thing to happen. Web design [mihai-marica.ro]

Open source drivers also from the manufacturer (4, Informative)

Sun (104778) | more than 3 years ago | (#34649820)

I should just point out that PrimeSense, the hardware manufacturer behind the Kinect, also has open source drivers, as well (closed source, free of charge) libraries for skeleton detection and other stuff. Info in this [slashdot.org] , still pending, Slashdot article.

Shachar

Citation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34651294)

"While Microsoft probably isn't thrilled open source drivers for its Kinect have led to it being used for 3D virtual sex games" [Citation Needed]

Re:Citation (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 3 years ago | (#34651648)

I think MS might not "officially" be thrilled the Kinect is being used for virtual sex, I'm sure they are quite happy that millions more units will be sold because of it.

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