Fri. Mar 31st, 2023
Watch the world's first live stream for 360° VR surgery on Thursday

Update: The 360-degree VR operation will be live-streamed today, Thursday, at 1pm BST (2pm CEST, 8am EDT). You can watch it from the free VRinOR app (iOS/Android), or there should be a live stream on the Medical Realities website as well.

Original story

On May 22, 2014, Mr. Shafi Ahmed, consultant general colorectal and laparoscopic surgeon at Barts NHS trust, made headlines for bringing his craft a lot closer to the eyes of his medical students.

By putting on Google Glass while removing tumors from the liver and intestines of a 78-year-old British man, he allowed 13,000 trainees and clinicians to witness a surgeon’s eye view of the procedure as it took place.

Now the streaming surgeon is going live again. The operating theater at the Royal London Hospital, with the operating room at its center, will be live in virtual reality for everyone to see at lunchtime on Thursday 14 April.

On this day, anyone with a compatible iOS or Android mobile or tablet can immerse themselves in the power of surgery in the 21st century. The streaming content is not exclusive to the app and can be viewed directly from the Medical Realities website, the company hosting this unique event. If the 360º demo footage is anything to go by, it’s going to be quite the eye-catcher.

Audio and video are captured using a Mativision system that features an intricate array of six different cameras, stitching the content together on the fly. Mativision is better known for delivering immersive entertainment from live concerts. His clients include Guns N’ Roses axeman Slash, British rock group Muse and Samsung before the launch of the S7. Indeed, this kind of content is favored by Samsung’s Gear VR goggles.

For a live performance, Mativision usually uses three of its cameras and while a few may be used during the Thursday operation, apparently only one will be visible during streaming.

Medical Realities is a London-based partnership founded by Shafi Ahmed and AR/VR evangelist Steve Dann that draws on a mix of clinical, educational and CGI authoring talent.

The company has not always relied on Mativision cameras and produced its own 360º surgical content, which was captured using a six GoPro camera setup. The main difference here is that the stitching was not done in real time.

There are several examples of this work on the Medical Realities YouTube channel and you don’t need the VRinOR app to view this content, but the YouTube app is useful for mobile phones. While a stereoscopic viewing option is available for Android, you can navigate the scene without needing a VR viewer by simply moving your iOS or Android device. You can also use a compatible browser (unfortunately, not Safari) from a computer and drag the scene around as it plays.

An example of VR surgery, from last year. Thursday’s surgery should be better than this. Don’t forget to drag/move the video to change your viewport.

While these videos capture the operating room environment, there is quite a bit of burnout in the area where the surgery takes place, but you can still see what’s going on by turning around to view the video monitor.

The Mativision rig has more control over lighting and is expected to produce a much better result on Thursday.

The next page contains some graphics of intestines.

By akfire1

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