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Gesture Computer Interface Device Developed For Surgeons

Date:
June 19, 2008
Source:
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Summary:
Researchers have developed a new hand gesture recognition system, tested at a Washington, D.C., hospital, that enables doctors to manipulate digital images during medical procedures by motioning instead of touching a screen, which compromises sterility and could spread infection.

Two surgeons manipulate brain images using a hand gesture recognition system developed by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. This was the first time, the authors believe that such a system was successfully implemented in an actual "in vivo" neurosurgical brain biopsy. It was tested at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. The system is trained to read specific movements so a sterile environment can be maintained without touching a screen, keyboard or mouse while reading digital images during a medical proceedure.
Credit: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel have developed a new hand gesture recognition system, tested at a Washington, D.C. hospital, that enables doctors to manipulate digital images during medical procedures by motioning instead of touching a screen, keyboard or mouse which compromises sterility and could spread infection, according to a just released article.

The new article reports on what the authors believe is the first time a hand gesture recognition system was successfully implemented in an actual "in vivo" neurosurgical brain biopsy. It was tested at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.

According to lead researcher Juan P. Wachs, a recent Ph.D. recipient from the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management at BGU, "A sterile human-machine interface is of supreme importance because it is the means by which the surgeon controls medical information, avoiding patient contamination, the operating room (OR) and the other surgeons." This could replace touch screens now used in many hospital operating rooms which must be sealed to prevent accumulation or spreading of contaminants and requires smooth surfaces that must be thoroughly cleaned after each procedure -- but sometimes aren't. With infection rates at U.S. hospitals now at unacceptably high rates, our system offers a possible alternative."

Helman Stern, a principal investigator on the project and a professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, explains how Gestix functions in two stages: "[There is] an initial calibration stage where the machine recognizes the surgeons' hand gestures, and a second stage where surgeons must learn and implement eight navigation gestures, rapidly moving the hand away from a "neutral area" and back again. Gestix users even have the option of zooming in and out by moving the hand clockwise or counterclockwise."

To avoid sending unintended signals, users may enter a "sleep" mode by dropping the hand. The gestures for sterile gesture interface are captured by a Canon VC-C4 camera, positioned above a large flat screen monitor, using an Intel Pentium and a Matrox Standard II video-capturing device.

The project lasted for two years; in the first year Juan Wachs spent a year working at IMI (Washington D.C.) as an informatics fellow on the development of the system. During the second year, there was a contract which ended between BGU and WHC (Washington Hospital Center) where Wachs continued working at BGU with Professors Helman Stern and Yael Edan, the project's principle investigators.

At BGU, several M.Sc theses, supervised by Prof. Helman Stern and Yael Edan, have used hand gesture recognition as part of an interface to evaluate different aspects of interface design on performance in a variety of tele-robotic and tele-operated systems. Ongoing research is aiming at expanding this work to include additional control modes (e.g., voice) so as to create a multimodal telerobotic control system.

In addition, Dr. Tal Oron and her students are currently using the gesture system to evaluate human performance measures. Further research, based on video motion capture, is being conducted by Prof. Helman Stern and Dr. Tal Oren of the Dept. of Industrial Engineering and Management and Dr. Amir Shapiro of the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering. This system, combined with a tactile body display, is intended to help the vision impaired sense their surroundings.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Wachs et al. A Gesture-based Tool for Sterile Browsing of Radiology Images. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 2008; 15 (3): 321 DOI: 10.1197/jamia.M241

Cite This Page:

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. "Gesture Computer Interface Device Developed For Surgeons." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080616101137.htm>.
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. (2008, June 19). Gesture Computer Interface Device Developed For Surgeons. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080616101137.htm
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. "Gesture Computer Interface Device Developed For Surgeons." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080616101137.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

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