Sony HMD gives surgeons 3D view during keyhole surgery

Sony aims to assist keyhole surgery with the launch of a ‘head-mount image processing unit’ for endoscopic image display. Images from an endoscope are output in 3D or 2D to organic EL panels built into a wearable monitor. Therefore, the surgeon does not have to check images on an external monitor and a PIP capability allows two images to be shown simultaneously.

Sony announced the release following an increase in the availability of 3D-compatible endoscopes furthering the effectiveness of laparoscopic surgery that cuts the strain and risks associated with open surgery.  

The unit uses OLED panels for detailed image representation of the target area. Two 18mm (diagonal) panels are fitted inside the monitor: one each for the left and right eye. Independent HD images are displayed on the left and right panels respectively with no crosstalk. 

Images output by the laparoscope can be flipped to the left or right, or rotated 180 degrees. This enables the images to be viewed from each individual's standing position, regardless of the orientation of the endoscopic camera. 

This device is equipped with four different input-output terminals, including DVI and SDI, to ensure compatibility with image signals from various endoscopic cameras. 

The ability to output the incoming images without modification (the video 'through out' function) enables the surgeon to view the laparoscopic images using the head-mounted monitor, while the same image information can be displayed simultaneously on an external monitor. This application enables multiple practitioners to share the information in real time.

Currently, the product has only been approved in Japan with its launch in other countries to be confirmed.