We’re living through a moment in time when technical healthcare innovation is in demand. Now, tech giant Microsoft is bringing AR technology into the operating room using the HoloLens 2. The company has been touring the tech through thirteen countries all over the globe, South Africa included, as part of a 24-hour surgical event.
Prof. Stephen Roche, a surgeon from the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, was one of fifteen surgeons who participated in the “Mixed Reality Surgery” event, leading a surgery using the HoloLens 2 in South Africa and assisting virtually in two more surgeries conducted in Germany and France.
The HoloLens 2 gave Professor Roche and the other surgeons a range of AR abilities, useful both for surgery itself and for teaching trainee surgeons who have been unable to practice due to Covid-19. Surgeons are able to visualize and operate holographically, train their peers remotely, and offer virtual assistance and expertise to their colleagues who are operating in person in real time.
Professor Roche said that the HoloLens made it feel as if the surgeons assisting remotely were in the room with him. He went on to express his appreciation of the HoloLens’ ability to bring together an international group of surgeons, particularly now that their “normal interactions in international meetings” have been called off due to the pandemic. Dr Bruno Gobatto, an orthopaedic surgeon from Brazil, called the project “the best way to democratise the use of mixed reality in the surgical block.”
The event was accompanied by around 25 recorded discussions surrounding the use of technology (like Mixed Reality) in surgical practice, and the future of medicine as a whole. You can find all the content broadcasted during the event here.