The Radiological Society of North America is holding its annual meeting in Chicago this week and we stopped by for a quick visit to check out some interesting technology that’s being showcased. Being into nifty gadgetry, one company that caught our eye is EchoPixel. They are using virtual reality technology to help surgeons prepare for challenging operations. Their software runs on HP’s Zvr Interactive Virtual Reality Display that actually tracks the user’s face to create an impressive life-like volumetric visualization of radiographic data.
We put on a pair of lightweight polarized glasses and tried it out for ourselves. The 3D effect is quite striking because when you move your head, you actually look around tissues proximal to you, as though it’s real anatomy you are examining. The image resolution is not out of this world, but it’s quite good for a large 3D screen. There’s a bit of lag as you glance around things, but it’s almost unnoticeable.
The system comes with a wired pen that can be used to grab rotate the data, overlay slices, and do the usual kind of navigation 3D imagers now all have. The cool thing about the pen, though, is that when its green virtual beam that comes out of the front end touches something, you feel it in your fingers. It’s a gentle click, letting you know when you can grab something, like a virtual stent, for example, and move it around to see how it would fit the patient.
The company is already working with doctors at Stanford University and Cleveland Clinic to evaluate the benefits of this technology.
Here’s a quick video that gives you a good idea of how the technology works. Even though the 3D images are simulated for your 2D screen, it does give you a good idea of what the system does. Do note, you do have to be in front of the screen for the sensors to track your face.
Link: EchoPixel homepage…