Jan. 7 - An Israeli firm has developed 3D holographic imaging technology that allows doctors to see a patient's anatomy ''floating'' in mid-air during real time medical procedures. The company says successful trials of its system demonstrate that science fiction has become science fact. Rob Muir reports.
To properly illustrate ts three dimensional, holographic technology, Realview Imaging has produced a video demonstrating what it says an observer would see in an operating theatre. The company says the technology gives surgeons an unprecedented look at their patient's anatomy as they're operating. Doctor Elchanan Bruckheimer helped develop it. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR ELCHANAN BRUCKHEIMER, MEDICAL DIRECTOR AT REALVIEW IMAGING AND HEAD OF CARDIAC CATHETERIZATION AT SCHNEIDER CHILDREN'S MEDICAL CENTER, SAYING: "Doctors deal with patients. Patients are built of tissues and things that move. If we want to intervene and treat those things, looking at them as they actually are in real life, in real time, is definitely going to improve the way we perform our procedures, how successful we are in those procedures and the time it takes to do those procedures." The system combines two technologies. Realview's co-founder Shaul Gelman says it begins with data from X-ray, MRI or ultrasound imaging, reproduced as a 3D hologram (SOUNDBITE) (English) SHAUL GELMAN, PRESIDENT AND CO-FOUNDER OF REALVIEW IMAGING, SAYING: "And then after the computation of the hologram, the system has an electro-optical part that actually propagates this light into space and reconstructs the image in free air, allowing the user to go and interact with the image." And for doctors like Einat Birk, that makes a difference. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR EINAT BIRK, HEAD OF THE HEART INSTITUTE AT SCHNEIDER CHILDREN'S MEDICAL CENTER, SAYING: "Instead of having two dimensional cuts through the heart we are able to see the heart floating in front of us, we are able to cut through it, to touch it, to see the interaction between the device and the tissue around it. And it was really a wonderful, enlightening experience that we're never exposed to." RealView says it plans to launch its medical imaging system commerically in 2015.