Swedish based eye tracking solutions developer, Tobii Technology, has announced that its partner ESINOMED GmbH, a provider of display solutions for medical and industrial uses, is launching EyeSeeMed, the world’s first eye tracking solution that integrates with hospital picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) to give surgeons hands-free access to data.
Eye tracking technology keeps track of where a person is looking on a digital screen by shining near-infrared light at the eyes and measuring the reflections caused. Specialised software then takes that reflection point and translates it in to a mouse position on the screen. To click the mouse, the individual stares (or dwells) at a point on the screen; the same method is used to type on an on-screen keyboard. Eye trackers can also be used to control a web browser or other Windows based programs.
EyeSeeMed will allow surgeons to navigate through medical imagery and onscreen information hands-free while remaining in sterile surgical environments. By eliminating the need to physically point at the screen, surgeons would be able to remain focused on the task at hand without having to put down their surgical instruments.
“Tobii is extremely excited to be a part of this historical advancement in the medical industry,” said Vice President of Tobii OEM Solutions, Oscar Werner. “The EyeSeeMed solution will empower surgeons with hands-free access to critical and time-sensitive data in the operating room by allowing them to simply use their natural eye gaze. This will reduce the complex interactions between the medical imaging instruments and the surgeon, hence making the process much more efficient and safe.”
CEO of ESINOMED GmbH, Peter Spagl, added that: “At last, the operating doctor can finally call up and process the relevant data and information during an operation himself, without having to leave the sterile environment or be dependent upon additional assistant personnel.”
Director of Inclusive Solutions, the South African distributor of Tobii, Ed Ellis, explained that while eye tracking is a relatively new technology in SA, to date they have sold eye trackers to individuals with disabilities and to schools. “The health sector is a focus for us going forward as there are many applications for this technology, particularly in trauma units, rehabilitation and degenerative conditions,” said Ellis.
Regarding the adoption of eye tracking technology in surgeries, Ellis added that: “By using only their eyes, doctors will now have an unprecedented level of flexibility and independence to access and process pre- and intraoperative imaging and medical data during surgery. The eye tracking technology provided by Tobii will revolutionise the operating room as we know it.”
Inclusive Solutions are in constant contact with Tobii to provide feedback on how the solutions are being used and to provide suggestions on how the technology could be improved for different applications.