Brain surgery, endoscopies and other complicated medical procedures could be made safer and faster in the future by using computers. Scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles are examining the way people use vision to interact with their environment and are attempting to design computer systems based on their findings.
Currently, surgeons routinely use technology that is capable of producing multiple images that are merged to provide a three-dimensional map of a patient's brain. However, these images are often up to a day old and, if certain conditions change, can become useless.
And although the small number of magnetic resonance imaging machines worldwide are capable of providing updated images during surgery, the instruments still have to be held and manipulated by humans. The researchers believe their work could have a significant impact on the emerging field of image-guided surgery, in which doctors use sophisticated imaging technology to perform surgical procedures.