UW professor, grad student and Casper company create augmented reality to assist in surgeries - Casper, WY Oil City News
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UW professor, grad student and Casper company create augmented reality to assist in surgeries

CASPER, Wyo. — Augmented reality technology has been developed to assist with surgical injections, to make the procedure “easier, faster and more comfortable.”

University of Wyoming researchers worked with Casper-based McGinley Orthopedics to design what they’re calling the “McGinley Innovations AR system.”

That is according to a June 19 UW news release.

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“Suresh Muknahallipatna, a UW professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Bradley Riotto, a Jackson master’s student majoring in electrical engineering, worked with Dr. Joseph McGinley, CEO and founder of McGinley Orthopedics in Casper,” the announcement says.

The system has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, according to UW. The system’s software and AR goggles are able to connect to “nearly all ultrasound systems on the market.”

“The system includes a real-time image display over or near the injection site,” UW said. “This allows surgeons or other medical professionals to visualize the image on the computer screen and the treatment site simultaneously.”

The technology has already found some applications.

“Casper Medical Imaging is using the system to treat patients for sports-related injuries and other overuse injuries that require ultrasound-guided injections,” said the university.

“The AR system also is being used by the Badia Hand to Shoulder Center in Miami, Fla., and has been featured on OrthoNow, a popular orthopedic site and blog.”

The AR goggles offer an improvement over systems that require surgeons to look at computer screens, according to Muknahallipatna.

“’With the AR system, I can see everything around me. With AR, I can project 3-D holograms wherever I want and can still keep working,’ Muknahallipatna says of wearing the AR goggles that resemble a golf visor. ‘We take the ultrasound image going to the monitor. It’s still going to the monitor, but we feed that image to the AR device.'”

“‘What you see in the monitor is now floating in the air. You can grab the image with your hands and move it where you want. This lessens stress on the neck, and the surgeon puts the hologram on the body itself.’”

Riotto is now working as enterprise software engineer at the Massachusetts based Charles Stark Draper Lab. He thinks AR has further potential.

“In the future, similar systems may be used for a variety of image-guided procedures,” he said in the announcement.

McGinley said the partnership has been a success.

“’This project is a perfect example of a successful public/private partnership. The engineering team at the University of Wyoming was able to take my clinical concept and work with McGinley Innovations to implement the idea in a practical and usable way,’ McGinley says. ‘I would not have been able to bring this idea to market without their assistance, nor would they have been able to accomplish it independently. It took the collaboration to see this idea to fruition.'”

Muknahallipatna, Riotto and UW Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Head John McInroy have a licensing agreement with McGinley Orthopedics for the system, according to UW. The university also receives a share of each system sold.