ProjectDR provides patient-specific anatomic views prior to incision
University of Alberta’s augmented reality project uses medical images, infrared cameras, and projection to visualize a patient’s internal anatomy
Literally getting under a patient’s skin can be intrusive, but researchers are finding new ways of looking at a patient’s inner anatomy.
The project is called ProjectDR, and it harnesses the power and growing popularity of augmented reality to show doctors what they need to see, prior to the first incision.
ProjectDR accomplishes this by using a couple of different technologies working in tandem. Patient-specific medical images, including MRIs and CT scans, provide the imagery used in the image, and infrared cameras use markers on the body to display images on the patient using a projector.
The most impressive accomplishment achieved by ProjectDR is the ability to not only project these images onto a patient’s body, but to also make these images move with the patient. This is done through software specifically written for the project by co-developer Ian Watts.
Watts cites a variety of different applications for his project, including teaching, physiotherapy, laparoscopic surgery and surgical planning, among other possibilities. These possibilities are enhanced by Project DR’s ability to show specific views of different parts of the body rather than everything at once. This automation is a component that Watts and his team are still working to improve.
The next steps will be to test practical uses of ProjectDR, including testing it in simulated settings.