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Virtual Reality

Surgeons simulate operations in a virtual 3D environment

Researchers at the University of Basel have developed a technology that enables the use computer tomography data to generate a three-dimensional representation for virtual environments in real time.

20 Dec. 2016
Specto Vive
Spectovive enables the use computer tomography data to generate a 3D representation for virtual environments (Photo: University of Basel)

To determine the best way to proceed in complicated operations, when deciding where to cut for example, surgeons must have a picture of anatomical structures, such as bones, vessels and tissues, that is as realistic as possible. Researchers at the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University and University Hospital Basel have now succeeded in processing the two-dimensional, cross-sectional computed tomography images with no delay for the virtual surgery preparation.

The system, which goes by the name of Spectovive, also calculates the shadow cast, thus providing users with a realistic sense of depth. "As a physician, rather than looking at the pictures of my patients from a bird’s eye view alone, I can now become part of it as a surgeon and move around in digital worlds that prepare me for surgery in undreamt-of detail," says ophthalmologist Dr. Peter Maloca, evaluating the new technology.