Leap Motion technology made its international debut in the operating room last October when TedCas unveiled its trial release of touchless imaging interfaces for healthcare professionals. Since then, TedCas co-founder and CEO Jesus Perez-Llano has been working to bring a plug-and-play, low-cost console solution for touchless interfaces in the OR.
Dr. Nicola Bizzotto is an orthopedic and trauma surgeon who specializes in the hand. Working primarily out of the University of Verona, he’s an eager early adopter of any technology with the potential to make his OR cleaner and more efficient. “In the OR, new technologies really help the surgeon operate faster and reduce risks for patients. I only needed 20 minutes of training. TedCas is made exactly for the surgeon’s needs.”
According to Bizzotto, X-ray and CT scans are typically displayed on a screen situated over the patient (though in older facilities, the screen will be on a wall, stationed out of arm’s reach). Using a mouse and keyboard in a sterile setting comes with its own unique set of problems. If a surgeon manipulates the images, that means several minutes of scrubbing to prevent cross-contamination. Otherwise, they verbally instruct support staff through the images. You can see the comparison in the video starting at 1:16:
As you can imagine, this can be a clunky, time-consuming process, especially when a patient is in critical care. With Leap Motion software and hardware embedded into the TedCas module, Dr. Bizzotto is able to navigate images quickly and intuitively without being forced to slow down. Additionally, because OR image manipulation can require many hands on deck, the touchless interface gives medical practitioners an aerial safeguard against cross-contamination – a level of protection that even a sterilized mouse cannot provide.
Equipment contamination via leakage, spills, or dust is a huge concern in any operating room. TedCas protects all the electronic components of their module using plastic, sealing the Leap Motion Controller within a non-stick layer over a thin piece of glass. The unit’s only moving part is a small fan, which generates minimal air flow from a clean space in its rear, with a smooth cover that prevents dust or other particles from gathering into any crevices.
Jesus Perez-Llano believes that as the first generation of touchless interfaces mature, interactions between humans and medical equipment will more closely resemble human-to-human communication through voice and gesture. “With the Leap Motion Controller, not only a touchless solution is provided, but also autonomy and independence to the MD. Our device aims to validate this trend in the medical world; however, this technology is very transversal,” he says, believing 3D input has the potential to catapult many industries forward.