New tech allows experienced medical professionals to remotely assist less-experienced doctors in war zones.
Researchers from Purdue University have crated AR health care tools that enable experienced surgeons and physicians from around the world to help less-experienced doctors caring for those in war zones, areas that have been hit by natural disasters, and rural regions, perform complex procedures.
The technology can help to minimize the number of casualties.
The augmented reality (AR) tools connect health care professionals in remote areas with surgeons and physicians across the globe. As such, the AR health care tech helps to improve the chances of saving lives in remote regions.
“The most critical challenge is to provide surgical expertise into the battlefield when it is most required,” said research team leader Juan Wachs, Purdue’s James A. and Sharon M. Tompkins Rising Star Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering, reported Photonics Media.
“Even without having highly experienced medical leaders physically co-located in the field, with this technology we can help minimize the number of casualties while maximizing treatment at the point of injury,” Wachs added.
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The AR health care technology provides a field surgeon with instant feedback from their mentor.
The system designed by the Purdue researches features a transparent headset screen display, which allows field doctors to see the patient in front of them as well real-time on-screen feedback from the mentor. The mentor, who is in another location, uses a video monitor to see the AR feed and provides the mentee with instant feedback.
Purdue’s system has been designed to replace current telestrator tech, which utilizes a separate video screen and relies on freehand sketches to deliver feedback. The new system reportedly uses computer algorithms to track and align virtual notes and marks from the mentor with the surgical area in front of the mentee.
“Our technology allows trainees to remain focused on the surgical procedure and reduces the potential for errors during surgery,” stated Edgar Rojas Muñoz, a doctoral student in industrial engineering who worked on the project.
The AR health care tools have received support from the US Department of Defense. Over the next few months, the AR tech will be tested at a Navy base in Virginia, where mentees and mentors will experiment with the tools using a simulated battlefield.