Augmented reality tool may improve surgery outcomes in war zones, study finds

An augmented reality tool developed by researchers at West Lafayette, Ind.-based Purdue University could improve outcomes for surgeries performed by medics in severe settings, such as war zones.

The research team designed an augmented reality system dubbed STAR, which stands for System for Telementoring with Augmented Reality, to better connect first responders with trained surgeons. STAR transmits video of the operating site to a surgeon, who then uses a touch screen to draw how the operation should unfold. The annotated image is delivered to the on-site medic, allowing them to be more informed about how to best perform the surgery.

STAR’s efficacy was tested in a study at the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (Va.), where first responders used the system to complete indoor and outdoor simulations of a surgery to open up a patient’s airway. The simulations included smoke and gunshot sounds.

According to results published in NPJ Digital Medicine, even medics who had never performed the surgery before did so successfully with the assistance of STAR.

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