HoloEyes Cloud Service Expands Medical CommunicationHoloeyes Inc.
Proactive treatment: User experience is similar to viewing the actual organ
(Source: Maki Sugimoto, HoloEyes Inc.)
- XR tech is reforming medical communication for surgery.
- Increasing utility value of medical imaging.
XR Tech & Hospital Surgery
Most people probably think of video games and other entertainment when they hear about XR tech like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR). HoloEyes Inc. uses these XR technologies to offer its medical imaging service HoloEyesXR.
Users of their HoloEyesXR cloud service can transform 3D image data from a patient’s CT, MRI or ultrasound exams into realistic 3D VR data viewable on a regular VR headset. This revolutionary service for surgical medical communication is currently gaining attention from the medical community.
Around 10 years ago, the technology to display 3D images of CT and MRI data on monitors to assist with surgical procedures came into common use. HoloEyes’s service uploads 3D image data (STL/OBJ format) from CT and MRI scans through their online site and converts it into VR experience application data.
Viewing the converted data using VR goggles provides an immersive experience with depth and volume, allowing the user to grasp the relative locations of organs and blood vessels. Transparent hologram displays like Microsoft’s HoloLens headset may be used to create a mixed reality (MR) view that displays a 3D model floating in real space.
Standard methods that place a 3D model of CT and MRI images inside a chunky square monitor are limited in how much information can be displayed. The service offered by HoloEyes allows that same data to be viewed in VR, making it easier for everybody to intuitively explore and understand the body’s construction and condition. Head movement is linked to movement of the data image, allowing VR goggle users to view the rear of the image by turning in real life, plus controls like 360 degree rotation and zoom in/out. Organ image data can be enlarged and displayed to provide an immersive experience that makes the user feel like a tiny explorer inside the human body.
Usually, doctors and nurses hold pre-operation conferences to discuss and plan surgical methods. VR can be used to explain the pathology and 3D structure of blood vessels to help perform safer, more accurate surgery. Likewise, a 3D model can be projected over the patient’s body during surgery to bring visibility to organs and vessels that are not easily seen by the naked eye, contributing to reduction of surgical labor and mistakes.
VR Tech: Searching for Surgical Support Solutions
Maki Sugimoto, a co-founder of HoloEyes Inc., also helped develop medical image analysis, surgery support systems and 3D-printed scale organ models while working at clinical sites as a surgeon.
Scale organ models with realistically replicated organ texture and feel are extremely valuable tools for pre-op surgical simulation. However, the cost and time required to build these models on a 3D printer is a significant issue.
Naoji Taniguchi, the other co-founder, decided to try taking the polygon data (a map of flat segments that express 3D shapes) used to build scale organ models and apply it to virtual reality. After its clinical effectiveness was demonstrated, HoloEyes Inc. was founded in October 2016. Regular services were offered starting in April 2018, with over 50 medical facilities joining the client pool by the end of January 2019.There are also already international users in the UK, USA and Singapore. User information is being used to make further improvements to the service.
The basic cost for this service is 10,000 yen (tax excluded) per case. Multiple case discount packages, monthly unlimited plans and yearly unlimited plans are also available. Future options under consideration include a library function that will let users share their uploaded data and make it viewable by other hospitals. HoloEyes is already preparing to receive approval as a medical device. If this approval is granted, we can expect this technology to spread and become more common.。
Greater Medical Communication Between the Medical Community & the General Public
HoloEyes is also looking beyond the operating room and beginning to reach out to adjacent fields like instruction for medical students and sales for medical equipment manufacturers. If sales agents can explain their products to doctors through demonstration using VR simulation, even completely new products will become easier to visualize and intuitively understand.
If HoloEyesXR becomes common, we may even enter a new era where patients can explore their own data and discover illnesses.
Currently, 3D image data from CT and MRI scans is eventually deleted. HoloEyes believes that storing 3D image data in VR application format will increase its utility value.
They are excited to continue contributing to medicine by offering global services like HoloEyesXR.
Interview Date: January 31, 2019
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