Skip to main content

FDA approves augmented reality surgery tool that gives surgeons ‘X-ray vision’

xvision introduction

Right now, augmented reality technology is most commonly associated with gaming or, perhaps, pick and placing your virtual Ikea furniture. But soon it will be used to give surgeons a type of “X-ray vision” when they carry out procedures — and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just given it the green light.

“The Xvision System is an augmented reality image guidance system, the first of its kind for surgery,” Augmedics CEO Nissan Elimelech told Digital Trends.

Using the Xvision Spine System (XVS), surgeons can visualize the 3D spinal anatomy of a patient while operating. They do this by donning a head-mounted display, which allows them to look directly inside patients — seeing through skin and tissue as if they have superpowers. XVS’s AR provides added data that makes it easier to navigate instruments and implants. This kind of computer-assisted surgery tool can help make minimally invasive surgery possible by providing surgeons with more information on where they need to make incisions.

“We have the same fundamentals as traditional surgical navigation systems, [meaning that] we use reference markers on the patient,” Elimelech explained. “We do a registration with a preoperative or intraoperative CT scan and use an optical tracker. With traditional navigation, though, the surgeon needs to reference all of the information on a distant 2D screen, and will need to look away from the patient to navigate his or her instruments. Our system is different because all of the components are in a lightweight headset. All of the information is displayed in front of him or her, on the patient, in a very real 3D display.”

Beyond line-of-sight issues, the problem with traditional navigation systems for surgeons is that they are bulky and expensive. This translates to low adoption rates. Augmedics hopes that its AR solution can help solve this problem, and in the process make navigation tools a more commonplace part of surgeries everywhere.

“We are starting to take orders for the headsets today, and we expect distribution to start in late first quarter,” Elimelech continued. “The FDA clearance gives us the ability to sell, and bring this technology to hospitals and surgery centers.”

Editors' Recommendations

Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
Bose pulls the plug on its audio-based augmented reality platform
Bose Alto AR sunglasses

Two years after debuting its prototype augmented reality glasses, Bose is stepping away from its efforts to bring augmented reality to your ears. Key Bose AR employees have left the company, according to a report by Protocol, and Bose's AR partners have been informed that their apps will stop working in the coming weeks.

The decision comes six months after the company announced it would close all of its U.S. retail store locations and move its entire sales operation online.

Read more
Augmented-reality cable technicians are here to fix your internet
cox cable augmented reality tech support for help while social distancing lightning ar

Picture this: You're at home with your family (because that's pretty much where we all are these days) when suddenly your cable TV signal dies. Normally, this would be a mere inconvenience, but these aren't normal times.

The loss of cable connectivity could mean no more TV -- or, far worse -- no more internet. But how is the cable technician going to enter your home for a repair? Staying home and keeping a healthy social distance is pointless if an outsider has to come in. You can also bet the technician isn't thrilled at the idea either.

Read more
AR therapy for kids with autism may be headed for FDA approval
ar therapy for kids with autism google glass stanford

Google Glass helps kids with autism read facial expressions

It’s probably fair to say that Google Glass hasn’t been quite the massive hit that Google expected it to be. But researchers from Stanford University have had plenty of success with their work on a very specific application of the augmented reality (AR) headset: Helping kids with autism. Called the Autism Glass Project, the Stanford Medicine initiative has been ongoing for the past six years, with the kid users involved with the project referring to the results as "Superpower Glass."

Read more