Virtual Surgery 3D – Visual Effects Shows Up in the Strangest Places – Austin Visuals Reports
It doesn’t have to do with movie VFX, but it does have to do with data visualization, real time rendering, and modeling of specific data in a particular way. Dr. Gregory Wiet and the Ohio Supercomputer Center in Columbus are working on a project called “Validation Dissemination of Temporal Bone Dissection.” What that translates to is using computers and VFX technology to model Computerized Tomography (CT) scan data of certain skull-based tumors, then using custom-built force-feedback hardware and goggles to simulate a surgical environment.
In the past, surgeons were trained on cadavers. Unfortunately, those lacked a beating heart. If a student were to hit a major blood vessel, there would be no way for them to tell. With a computer simulation, however, the student could instantly discern when they had done something incorrectly, thus forcing them to think on their feet. In other words, the simulation would allow for direct consequences to action, whereas the cadaver simply allows for structural exploration. It’s not difficult to tell which would provide the superior experience.
Of course, there are several elements to the simulation that must be faithfully reproduced. Obviously, the visual attributes of the environment need to be addressed. The colors will need to be absolutely faithful to their real-life counterparts. The surgeon in training also needs to feel the proper tactile data in response to the movement of their hands and the tools they are using. Finally, the sounds are going to change as well, as surgery progresses.
One of the ultimate aims for this technology is to use it in the real world with patient specific information so that it can be used for patient assessment and pre-surgical planning. Truly, the project at Ohio State is a multidisciplinary one. VFX artists, medical personnel, and computer programmers are all coming together to simulate surgical interaction with the human body – which is certainly nothing to be trivialized.
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