The Computer Assisted Medical Diagnosis and Surgery System (CAMDASS) is a wearable augmented reality prototype that can provide just-in-time medical expertise to astronauts.
Augmented reality merges actual and virtual reality by precisely combining computer-generated graphics with the wearer’s view. First it is focussed on ultrasound examinations, but in principle it could guide other procedures. Ultrasound is leading the way because it is a versatile and effective medical diagnostic tool, and already available on the International Space Station.
CAMDASS uses a stereo head-mounted display and an ultrasound tool tracked via an infrared camera. The patient is tracked using markers placed at the site of interest. An ultrasound device is linked with CAMDASS and the system allows the patient’s body to be ‘registered’ to the camera and the display calibrated to each wearer’s vision. 3D augmented reality cue cards are then displayed in the headset to guide the wearer. These are provided by matching points on a ‘virtual human’ and the registered patient. This guides the wearer to position and move the ultrasound probe. Reference ultrasound images give users an indication of what they should be seeing, and speech recognition allows hands-free control.
The prototype has been tested for usability at Saint-Pierre University Hospital, Brussels, Belgium, with medical and nursing students, Belgian Red Cross and paramedic staff. Untrained users found they could perform a reasonably difficult procedure without other help, with effective probe positioning.
Funded by ESA’s Basic Technology Research Programme, the prototype was developed for the Agency by a consortium led by Space Applications Services NV, Belgium, with support from the Technical University of Munich and the DKFZ German Cancer Research Centre.
Image: © ESA/Space Applications Service NV
- European Space Agency (ESA), Paris, France