A revolutionary view into the operating room; these Maastricht 3D glasses reduce the chance of error
I-Med Technology broadens and enriches the view of a surgeon and dentist. The Maastricht-based company has developed '3D glasses' that help doctors work more accurately, shorten the duration of treatment, reduce the risk of errors and complications and promote patient recovery.
The innovation is unique in that it was made with input from surgeons from several, mainly academic hospitals, including the one in Maastricht. “The latest generation of glasses, for example, has a viewing angle of 45 degrees and weighs just 230 grams,” says Vincent Graham, specialist in the field of virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR).
“Dentists who treat patients for hours in particular experience this as a very pleasant ergonomic advantage. They can adopt a much more natural position in their own chair and thus run less risk of neck and back complaints and, as a result, drop out.”
The instrument is the first and only in the world to be equipped with a three-dimensional high-resolution color image. "That's our trademark," said Graham. Furthermore, the surgeon or dentist can zoom in up to seven times at the touch of a foot pedal or call up CT or MRI scans in his display. This creates a 'mixed reality' and all relevant information is available at a glance. “So there is no need to consult a separate monitor.”
Artificial intelligence ensures that the image quality is continuously optimal. "With the help of a European subsidy, we are now also going to make visible what is barely visible," co-founder Jaap Heukelom announces a new feature.
“With infrared light, for example, nerve pathways, lymphatic vessels and small capillaries can be made visible, which must not be touched during an operation. A collaborative project has been set up for this with the hospital in Maastricht, AMC Amsterdam, University of Twente and Quest Imaging.”
I-Med Technology works with a team of six developers. The products have now found their way to various hospitals and parties in the Netherlands, the US and Italy. The path there was anything but smooth. After years of development and intensive collaboration with a team of surgeons – multiple disciplines – it was launched last year on the medical market and this year on the dental market.
“It was a long-term process. After all, such an instrument has to meet the strictest requirements and undergoes time-consuming and often expensive procedures before certification takes place", Jaap Heukelom looks back.
“The microscopic glasses are sold through partners, such as major medical companies and the dental markets. We do this as much as possible in a collaboration of open innovation”, says Johan van de Ven, the CEO of i-Med. “Production takes place at Neways in Leeuwarden. Next year a hundred glasses will be made there, in three years there should be about 500. There is great interest from all over the world.”
On the way to the next growth phase, the team remains ambitious. For example, hard work is already being done on a derivative product of the digital main magnifier: the 3D viewer. This can be connected to, for example, an endoscope, surgical robots or a surgical microscope. This allows the interventions to take place in a better and more ergonomic way than with a 3D monitor.
Students see through the eyes of the specialist
According to i-Med, the digital head magnifier should not be missing in the operating and dental room of the future. The instrument also offers possibilities for medical education, as images can be streamed live. This allows a large group of students to see through the surgeon's eyes. The recordings of the operation can also be viewed later for educational purposes. In a crowded operating room, it is often difficult for aspiring surgeons to get an accurate glimpse of the medical procedure.
Source: Dagblad de Limburger