Touch-free gesture control can have a lot of benefits for surgeons wanting to manipulate radiological images or surgical plans that were prepared prior to a procedure. In particular, being able to keep one’s gloves on and quickly switch between working on the patient and efficiently browsing through visualization data can shorten surgeries while making things flow more naturally. There have been attempts to use the Microsoft Kinect 3D camera for just such a purpose, but the technology powering it is simply not fast enough to achieve lag-free results.
Researchers at University of Tokyo in collaboration with zSpace (Sunnyvale, CA) developed a high-speed gesture tracking system that works in real-time without any noticeable delay. It relies on cameras capable of tracking the user’s hands at 500 frames per second and adjusting the resulting 3D image accordingly. Here’s a video demonstration of the new system, including some nifty features like being able to hold a virtual camera to study volumetric images in a new, but intuitive way.