In recent years, medical professionals have demonstrated how the HoloLens can assist in surgeries, ranging from collarbone repairs to spinal surgeries to cosmetic procedures. Now, the largest children's hospital in the United Kingdom is also ready to deploy the technology.
Alder Hey Children's Hospital, a Liverpool-based facility treating more than 270,000 children per year, is using the Microsoft HoloLens to help surgeons visualize 3D anatomical images and patient information, such as ultrasounds, CT scans, and angiograms, during surgery while keeping their hands free to focus on delicate procedures.
"Imaging a patient's heart from the inside and from the outside is absolutely essential. I have to visualize that 3D view in my head in order to do this operation," said Rafael Guerrero, a cardiac surgeon at Alder Hey, in a blog post.
"You can display those images on a screen in the operating theatre sometimes, but it's not easily accessible; and I can't leave in the middle of an operation to go get more information about my patient. In many cases, the heart has already stopped in order for us to operate."
Elaborating on the possibilities, Guerro outlined how he imagines the HoloLens working in the operating rooms of the future.
"Microsoft HoloLens and mixed reality will, in the future, enable me to have a patient's scans in front of me while I'm doing the operation," said Guerro. "If I can use technology to obtain that information, to see those images in front of me, that helps me tremendously and improves the outcome for my patient."
The hospital has enlisted Microsoft partner Black Marble to develop the applications for displaying information and deploy the system, which also includes Microsoft's large format touchscreen computer Surface Hub and Azure cloud storage to facilitate information sharing and collaboration between doctors and surgeons.
"HoloLens has powerful visualization capabilities. Coupled with the Surface Hub, which is excellent for transforming collaborative experiences, we saw a range of opportunities for creating engaging user experiences," said Robert Hogg, CEO of Black Marble.
"The common factor for both these devices is that they are delivered on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), which enabled us to write the application once, and still take advantage of the best features of both devices."
Chalk this up as another example of augmented reality headsets as the prescription to improve work procedures in the enterprise sector today ahead of viable solutions built more for the consumer space. Moreover, this serves as yet another example of how HoloLen's 3D visualization and gesture-based UI is already ready for prime time.