Sony has unveiled a “head-mount processing unit” that gives wearers virtual X-ray vision. Sounds like the latest accessory for gamers or sci-fi fanatics, right? Nope, it’s for surgeons.
Connected to an endoscope that feeds images inside the headset, the device lets surgeons view high-definition, 3-D images of a laparoscopic procedure, the surgery that uses fiber-optic instruments to see inside the body.
Laparoscopic surgery is considered a less invasive alternative to procedures that involve larger incisions. But it can require special tools, multiple, albeit smaller incisions and endoscopes connected to two-dimensional televisions monitors, all of which combine to make a cumbersome process that can cloud the view.
Sony’s 3-D head-mounted image processor aims to bring a little more precision and focus back to the fold. The headset includes a pair of organic light-emitting diode panels that generate high-resolution stereoscopic images that are separated for each eye. Surgeons can even switch back and forth between 2-D and 3-D perspectives, being that the device is compatible with 2-D endoscopes.
More features include a picture-in-picture element, where two images can be viewed at once. Images can also be flipped in all directions and shared with other members of surgical team, so they can view images from their perspective. A gap in the bottom of the visor also allows surgeons to glance down at their patients without removing the device. Currently, the device has only been approved in Japan and sells for around $15,300.
So, virtual reality gamers, next time someone hassles you about spending too much time inside your Oculus Rift headset, you can always just say you’re practicing to become a surgeon.