Virtual reality in the operating room of the future.Stud Health Technol Inform. 1997; 39:224-31.SH
In cooperation with the Max-Delbrück-Centrum/Robert-Rössle-Klinik (MDC/RRK) in Berlin, the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics is currently designing and developing a scenario for the operating room of the future. The goal of this project is to integrate new analysis, visualization and interaction tools in order to optimize and refine tumor diagnostics and therapy in combination with laser technology and remote stereoscopic video transfer. Hence, a human 3-D reference model is reconstructed using CT, MR, and anatomical cryosection images from the National Library of Medicine's Visible Human Project. Applying segmentation algorithms and surface-polygonization methods a 3-D representation is obtained. In addition, a "fly-through" the virtual patient is realized using 3-D input devices (data glove, tracking system, 6-DOF mouse). In this way, the surgeon can experience really new perspectives of the human anatomy. Moreover, using a virtual cutting plane any cut of the CT volume can be interactively placed and visualized in realtime. In conclusion, this project delivers visions for the application of effective visualization and VR systems. Commonly known as Virtual Prototyping and applied by the automotive industry long ago, this project shows, that the use of VR techniques can also prototype an operating room. After evaluating design and functionality of the virtual operating room, MDC plans to build real ORs in the near future. The use of VR techniques provides a more natural interface for the surgeon in the OR (e.g., controlling interactions by voice input). Besides preoperative planning future work will focus on supporting the surgeon in performing surgical interventions. An optimal synthesis of real and synthetic data, and the inclusion of visual, aural, and tactile senses in virtual environments can meet these requirements. This Augmented Reality could represent the environment for the surgeons of tomorrow.