A Cape Town-based team consisting of two doctors and two computer engineers are developing a device, called DextraView, which will enable surgeons to interact with medical images in a sterile and intuitive manner.
Dr Jonathan Chan King initially developed the idea for DextraView as a medical student. However, he was only able to actually start developing his idea once he graduated from UCT.
“As a medical student, I always wanted to change the way medicine was conducted in order to improve patient care. However, during my student years, I couldn’t find the right technical partners to help me achieve my vision of DextraView,” said Dr King.
Luckily this changed after graduation when Dr King met Francois Malan, who has a PhD in medical imaging, and through him Pieter Holtzhausen, who has a PhD in computer vision. They then brought on the fourth team member, Dr King’s clinical partner, Dr Kamlin Ekambaram. “The four of us make an excellent skilled technical team who all have startup experience to boot,” said Dr King.
With support from the Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH) Innovation Hub the DextraView team obtained the funding, expertise and mentorship that they needed to further develop their idea and create a prototype of their solution; a small infrared-enabled device that allows surgeons to manipulate radiology images hands-free during surgery.
“The Innovation Hub has supported us by providing guidance regarding the setup of our business as well as access to GSH, in which we are testing our product in collaboration with other medical and surgical specialists,” said Dr King.
“As part of our funding, we have undergone regular monitoring and evaluation to ensure that we meet our targets. In each round of funding we achieve a certain goal, thereby allowing us to continue our relationship with the Innovation Hub,” continued Dr King.
The team have since achieved alpha level of testing of DextraView, which is compliant with the existing IT infrastructure at GSH, and have received positive feedback from both the Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical departments.
“Such feedback has however only been in a simulated environment. Thus, as part of our beta phase, we will now pilot our product in a simulated surgical setting and finalise our product in a normal clinical setting,” said Dr King.
Other than being used in a clinical setting, the DextraView team believe their device will enable medical students to improve their visual-orientation spatial skills whilst learning anatomy.
“Technology such as ours ushers in a new era of real-time interactive medicine to improve patient care. We are all eager to impart our vision of improving patient healthcare to the South African market and, hopefully, also the world at large,” concluded Dr King.