A collaborative team of UK scientists from the School of Computing and Communications at Lancaster University, along with Microsoft Research, Guy's Hospital, St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, and King's College London has done pioneering research in touchless technology for vascular surgery.

Following successful pilot testing of the technology in vascular surgery procedures, the team from Lancaster and Microsoft has now partnered with neurosurgeons at Addenbrookes NHS Foundation Trust and Cambridge University to apply the technology to the manipulation of 3D volumetric models of the brain for neurosurgical procedures.

They say that this project successfully combines the skills and knowledge of social and computer scientists with the professional expertise of surgeons, to design and develop an application that enables surgeons to view, control, and manipulate medical images without contact.

Touchless technology, they say, allows the surgeons to manipulate images while maintaining a sterile environment, and without the need for them to instruct others to manipulate visual-aid equipment for them.

The new gesture-based systems utilize Kinect for Windows hardware and the Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit to allow the surgery teams to view and manipulate medical images through a combination of gesture and voice control leaving both hands free to work with surgical instruments.