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Kinect + Brain Scan = Augmented Reality for Neurosurgeons

Microsoft researchers demo a system that creates 3D models of brain scans using the new Kinect Fusion API

1 min read
Kinect + Brain Scan = Augmented Reality for Neurosurgeons
Celia Gorman

With a little duct tape, a touch screen tablet, and their new Kinect API, the Microsoft Research Cambridge team built an augmented reality system to help brain surgeons visualize 3D brain scans. Kinect Fusion supplies 3D modeling of anything, which could fuel some seriously neat medical innovations. (The Cambridge team also built KinEtre, which lets you posses anything.) At the 13th annual Microsoft TechFest, Ben Glocker demoed a prototype system that would allow neurosurgeons to prepare for surgery by looking inside a patient's brain before they cut it open. Doctors could see the skeleton, brain, blood vessels, and the targeted tumor on a tablet—which they can move around the patient's head—helping them to plot the best brain surgery path.

The Fusion API will be released in the next Kinect for Windows SDK, which researchers say will be out very soon.

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The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
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A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof
DarkGray

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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