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Surgeons may use hand gestures to manipulate MRI images in OR
Date:1/10/2013

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Doctors may soon be using a system in the operating room that recognizes hand gestures as commands to tell a computer to browse and display medical images of the patient during a surgery.

Surgeons routinely need to review medical images and records during surgery, but stepping away from the operating table and touching a keyboard and mouse can delay the procedure and increase the risk of spreading infection-causing bacteria, said Juan Pablo Wachs, an assistant professor of industrial engineering at Purdue University.

"One of the most ubiquitous pieces of equipment in U.S. surgical units is the computer workstation, which allows access to medical images before and during surgery," he said. "However, computers and their peripherals are difficult to sterilize, and keyboards and mice have been found to be a source of contamination. Also, when nurses or assistants operate the keyboard for the surgeon, the process of conveying information accurately has proven cumbersome and inefficient since spoken dialogue can be time-consuming and leads to frustration and delays in the surgery."

Researchers are creating a system that uses depth-sensing cameras and specialized algorithms to recognize hand gestures as commands to manipulate MRI images on a large display. Recent research to develop the algorithms has been led by doctoral student Mithun George Jacob.

Findings from the research were detailed in a paper published in December in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. The paper was written by Jacob, Wachs and Rebecca A. Packer, an associate professor of neurology and neurosurgery in Purdue's College of Veterinary Medicine.

The researchers validated the system, working with veterinary surgeons to collect a set of gestures natural for clinicians and surgeons. The surgeons were asked to specify functions they perform with MRI images in typical surgeries and to suggest gestures for commands. Ten gesture
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Contact: Emil Venere
venere@purdue.edu
765-494-4709
Purdue University
Source:Eurekalert  

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