Startup uses augmented reality to guide medical procedures
Imagine if you were a surgeon with X-ray vision. No, this isn’t a superhero plotline or wishful thinking. Thanks to Cleveland-based MediView XR, surgeons now have the ability to see directly inside a patient’s body instead of looking at 2D images on a display screen. By superimposing real-time images onto patients through augmented and extended reality, MediView is working to continue advancing the technology behind Katie Stubblefield’s revolutionary face transplant to change the future of operations.
“We are a surgical navigation company in the medical device space,” said CEO and co-founder John W. Black. “We’re trying to solve for the limitations on current procedural visualizations, or the way that surgeons can “see inside” a patient. To put it simply, our technology gives surgeons X-ray vision so that they can see a patient’s own internal anatomy without having to make an incision.”
Sound sci-fi? Black explains that MediView XR is currently focused in the cancer space, helping patients avoid invasive, three hour procedures with high radiation to remove tumors. Instead of relying on surgery or radiation, a surgeon has a special set of glasses and a head-mounted display (think AR goggles). Using augmented reality and Real-Time, Fused Holographic Visualization (RTFHV) the surgeon looks through the goggles and sees the patient’s bones, blood vessels, organs and tumor as they lie on the procedure table.
“Instead of forcing a surgeon to look to the side at a 2D screen while operating, our system allows the surgeon to walk around and operate on the patient in 3D,” said Black. “Then, a surgeon can use that holographic, 3D image as a guide to direct their needle precisely into a tumor to biopsy it and ablate it.”
For those that might be wary about augmented reality, Black notes that the technology is created using the patient’s own imaging from CT or MRI scans. Those images are then overlaid onto the patient, creating a functioning model for the surgeon to see the patient’s anatomy. Additionally, 3D holographic ultrasound imaging is used to provide a real-time look into the body’s soft tissues as the procedure is underway.
“CTs and MRIs came out in the 1970s,” said Black. “While they help us build a 3D image, this capability has been locked in 2D screens. Now that we have products like the HoloLens that we’ve combined with augmented reality and extended reality technology, we can really unlock the most revolutionary imaging upgrade in 30 to 40 years.”
For Black and his co-founder, their medical device backgrounds were just the beginning of this journey into revolutionary technology. With the mentorship and networking capabilities of NextTech, a partner ofOhio Third Frontier in Toledo, MediView XR has been able to expand their offices to Cleveland and Toledo. The startup also secured a Technology Validation and Start-up Fund award to propel the development of their technology.
“Ohio has been at the epicenter of growth and utilization of augmented reality in the medical field,” said Black. “It’s been amazing and humbling to witness the advancement of technology and how it will help patients. This experience is something I think will carry through to my kids and grandkids. I’m proud that I can say we were able to launch and build a disruptive med-tech company of this potential scale in Ohio.’”