Robotic assistant, virtual reality and augmented reality are some of the recent applications of technology in the operating room to help surgeons and ultimately patients. Similarly, research at the University of Bristol in the U.K., is exploring the possibility of hands free control of surgical systems through Identification of hand gestures by Ultrasound imaging. Utilizing a conventional ultrasound probe, machine learning tools, and computer vision the researchers identified the gestures produced by different muscle motions, in the forearm of an individual.
Apart from consumer applications like video game playing and controlling devices in one’s home environment, the identification of hand gestures through ultrasound imaging may allow surgeons to maintain sterility during surgical procedures without requiring assistance to control an imaging device’s interface. Surgeons may be allowed to browse hands free through radiological images during procedures. This technology may also find application in the rehabilitation of post-stroke patients as well as patients with musculoskeletal disease, and render in-clinic touchscreens (that may spread infections) unnecessary with time.
The ultrasound hand gesture identification technology’s successful detection of muscle motion at the wrist proved its utility as wrists shall serve as the sites where future smartphones equipped with ultrasound transducers shall be worn contributing to mobility in health and medicine.