An "augmented reality telementoring" system built by researchers at Purdue University and the Indiana University School of Medicine provides effective support to battlefield surgeons from specialists located thousands of miles away. The system uses a transparent display positioned between the surgeon and the operating field.
Current telemonitoring systems require the surgeon to shift focus to a nearby apparatus called a "telestrator," diverting attention from the operating table. The new System for Telementoring with Augmented Reality (STAR) harnesses various technologies, such as transparent displays and sensors, to improve the quality of the communication between mentor and surgeon.
The technology integrates mentor annotations and illustrations directly into a surgeon's field of view, eliminating the need to shift focus away from the operation. The surgeon sees their hands, annotations, operating field, and instruments, as if the display were not there.
Researchers are testing the system while performing procedures commonly carried out in operating rooms: cricothyrotomy, in which a tube is inserted into the throat to establish an airway; laparotomy, in which an incision is made in the abdomen to examine internal organs and structures in the abdomen; and fasciotomy, a limb-saving procedure that involves cutting the fascia, a layer of fibrous connective tissue surrounding muscles, to relieve pressure.