Published on July 6th, 2021 | by Emergent Enterprise0
Xenco Medical’s HoloMedX Brings Holograms to Surgical Education
You know the pushbacks to virtual reality experiences – the headsets are cumbersome and uncomfortable and peripheral vision is cut off (of course, by design, but it still can bother people). But, maybe that resistance does go away when innovative solutions like the Xenco Medical HoloMedX is used for surgical procedure training as reported by Jon Jaehnig at AR Post. HoloMedX presents an editable hologram before the student resulting in endless opportunities to “perform surgery” on a virtual 3D patient. The future surgeon can make mistakes, try different approaches, try and retry – and learn and grow and get better on every attempt. This tool is also helpful for experienced surgeons as well. Obviously, this approach is not as immersive as a VR headset but perhaps it is more like the actual surgery experience and that is a big win for the student, the training provider and the patients.
Photo credit: Xenco Medical
What happens when a medical device company starts exploring extended reality? Really incredible things. That’s what we learned when Xenco Medical announced HoloMedX at the VR/AR Association Global Summit earlier this month.
We at ARPost were so blown away by the presentation that we interviewed Xenco Medical Founder and CEO Jason Haider for more details.
Meet Xenco Medical
Xenco Medical is a company that makes single-use medical devices. Not only do the single-use devices mean that tools don’t degrade over time, but they also cut risk of contamination between patients. Devices are even custom-made for specific surgeries and even specific patients.
One of the priorities of Xenco Medical involves helping medical teams communicate both with surgical students and with patients about to undergo surgery. In either case, a medical professional would demonstrate to a person – or a room full of people – exactly what a surgery would look like using Xenco Medical devices.
The only problem? While Xenco Medical makes patient-specific surgical devices, surgeries were demonstrated using off-the-shelf anatomical models. Specifically in the case of spinal surgery, one patient’s anatomy may be drastically different from another’s. This makes one-size-fits-all medical models severely limiting.
Alternative options included demonstrating surgeries on two-dimensional images and scans, but surgery is an inherently three-dimensional process. While in theory it would be possible to make custom models using technology like 3D printing, this would be prohibitively time-consuming and costly. So, Xenco Medical turned to XR and created HoloMedX.
“As a patient-centric company, we’ve made an outsized commitment to developing technologies that address the entire spectrum of a patient’s surgical experience,” Haider said in a release shared with ARPost.
The Software Behind HoloMedX
Xenco Medical has pioneered a computer learning algorithm that uses ray tracing technology to stitch a series of 2D diagnostic images together to instantly create patient-specific 3D models.
“We wanted to make it as seamless as possible so the user wouldn’t need to have technical knowledge to translate a DICOM [Digital Imaging and Communications Model in Medicine] dataset into a hologram,” Haider told ARPost.
The result is a user-friendly experience for both surgical experts and patients learning about their own surgeries beforehand. This kind of understanding improves patient experience and satisfaction.
“You get the patient’s anatomy suspended in air,” Haider explained when announcing the platform during the VR/AR Association Global Summit. “The goal is to give patients and surgical trainers a hyper-realistic sense.”
Displaying Patient-Specific Models – Sans Headset
The next question was how to display the models in ways that would be efficient for teachers and learners and impactful for patients. The first and most obvious answer was to use 3D modeling and imaging software in a headset. In addition to a headset removing face-to-face communication for patients and providers, it poses a problem for scaling.