Monday, September 16, 2019

News: AMRC develops digital operating theatre


Technology which could advance patient care and improve patient safety during surgery, has been developed at the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).

A Digital Operating Theatre proof of concept demonstrator has been created at the centre's Design and Prototyping Group (DPG), based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham.

Project engineers Sam Hyde, Jonathan Gomez, Liam Overett, Ross Eaves and Rob Stacey, under the guidance of Digital Design Manager David King and AMRC Medical Lead Malcolm Brown worked with surgical teams on the project which combines a virtual reality digital twin, projection mapping and smart tools, allowing the position of objects and clinicians to be accurately tracked in the theatre space, with relevant information displayed digitally using screens, projections and augmented reality devices.

Using similar technology used for CGI movies, retroreflective markers are placed on clinicians and objects then the camera tracking system tracks each of these points down to 0.2mm and updates the position 120 times a second. Projection mapping techniques are used at the AMRC's Factory 2050 for work instructions.


Sam Hyde said: "Everything in the Digital Operating Theatre demonstrator is replicated in the virtual reality on a one-to-one scale, with 100% accuracy, so we can position an avatar or surgical device in real time.

"The virtual reality allows someone to view the theatre from any angle with no physical restraints. During a surgery you can look over the surgeon’s shoulder to see exactly how they are doing what they are doing. You could call up an expert on the other side of the world to provide advice and help you when you are in the middle of a surgical procedure."

It is hoped the Digital Operating Theatre could help overcome the physical restraints of teaching medical students.

Nicholas Lee, Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The technology used is very innovative. Concepts like smart tooling, the virtual theatre and virtual reality are all new to me.

"I really feel very strongly that the Digital Operating Theatre has the potential to improve the environment staff work within, advance the care we provide to our patients, aid teaching and training but, most importantly, has the potential to improve patient safety."

Medical AMRC website

Images: AMRC


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