NextFest 2: Hand Gesture Controlled Surgery and Tom Cruise

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Tom Cruise Minority Report                          Raytheon Army Version

In my last post on Fogscreen I shared my vision for a future of alternative display technologies opening up new options for surgical imaging. Let me elaborate on what I have called the “hand gesture control” concept. In traditional surgery there is a direct interaction between surgeon and patient. Laparoscopy (“keyhole surgery”- my specialty) is the revolutionary breakthrough where for the first time there is a technological interface between surgeon and patient. I believe this is a radical enabling step since this interface can now be modified endlessly by technology. Today we remain shackled by the surgeon using his hand to manipulate the tools. The DaVinci robot was one of the first steps whereby the direct line of touch between surgeon and patient has been interrupted by a computer controlled interface.

We should further explore the possibilities of the hand gesture system. Fogscreen employes this in their interactive version where you write with your finger like a cursor in space and the lines appear where you gesture. Clearly, a computer and camera system track movements and convert them into cursor paths. First shown in Minority Report, Tom Cruise gestures in space and pulls, pushes, and manipulats computer images projected in space. Wll folks, prototypes of this already exist.  Raytheon has developed one for the army (they get all the good stuff first)– but the concept directly applies to surgery. Project an image in space- gesture with hand – direct laser or robotic tool- it opens up endless possibilities for free form and novel operative procedures and I predict it will be a major concept for future surgery.

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