Tuesday, June 11th, 10.30

Irwin Sobel, HP Labs, Palo Alto.

Augmented Reality for Surgical Planning.

We will describe our efforts, over the last 12 years, to build a visualization system to facilitate surgical-planning. The salient features of our approach are:

(a) an interactive "virtual hologram" display which - allows manipulation and "virtual dissection" of tissues of interest - can be supplemented with haptic feedback for increased realism - is enabled via the new possibility of fast volume-rendering and head-tracked-stereo viewing

(b) false-color representation of multi-parameter or multi-modal data which allows for - better tissue discrimination - rapid interactive dissection of tissues based upon their (false) colors

Early results were shown in 1993 at RSNA. These were non-interactive 2D and 3D. The advent of low cost, fast volume rendering (with help from Moore's Law) has allowed for interactive cost-effective implementation of a surgical-planning workstation that could sell for under $100,000.

We are pursuing this work in an international consortium of CRS4 (Cagliari), Dept of Neurology and Neurosurgery (Univ. Cagliari), DIST-BIOLAB (Univ. Genoa), HP Labs (Palo Alto), and KAeMARt Group (Univ. Parma). The immediate application is neurosurgery planning for severe cases of epilepsy and parkinsonism.


Irwin Sobel has been a senior researcher at HP Labs, Palo Alto since Dec. 1982. Prior to then he spent 9 years at the Dept. of Biological Sciences at Columbia Univ. automating serial-section reconstruction for neuroanatomy - the precursor of this project. He has a PhD in EE/CS from Stanford Univ., and BS(Math)/MS(EE) from MIT.