Johns Hopkins neurosurgeons perform institution’s first AR surgeries 1

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Johns Hopkins neurosurgeons perform institution’s first AR surgeries, The Leadership Network to deliver executive Toyota masterclass in VR, and Scope AR launches web-based app for quickly creating and sharing AR content

Johns Hopkins neurosurgeons perform institution’s first AR surgeries - John Hopkins

Johns Hopkins neurosurgeons perform institution’s first AR surgeries

Johns Hopkins neurosurgeons have performed the institution’s first augmented reality surgeries in living patients.

During the first procedure on 8 June 2020, the physicians placed six screws in a patient’s spine for spinal fusion surgery to fuse three vertebrae in order to relieve the patient’s chronic, debilitating back pain.

For the second surgery on 10 June, surgeons removed a cancerous tumor known as a chordoma from the spine of a patient. The doctors report that both patients are doing well.

About eight out of 10 people experience debilitating back pain in their lifetime. When medication and lifestyle changes aren’t able to relieve pain, surgery may be an option.

About 1.6 million people in the US have spinal fusions each year, in which 60 to 70% of the patients report less pain after surgery.

Spinal chordomas are rare, cancerous tumors that grow out of the vertebrae or base of the skull. In the US, only about 300 people are diagnosed with these tumors each year. Surgery and radiation are the best-known treatments.

The technology used by the physicians for the augmented reality surgeries consisted of a headset with a see-through eye display that projects images of the patient’s internal anatomy such as bones and other tissue based on CT scans—essentially giving the surgeons X-ray vision.

“When using augmented reality in the operating room, it’s like having a GPS navigator in front of your eyes in a natural way so you don’t have to look at a separate screen to see your patient’s CT scan,” says Timothy Witham, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins Neurosurgery Spinal Fusion Laboratory and professor of neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Witham led the spinal fusion surgery.

Augmented reality has been used for several years to train medical students on surgeries such as blood clot removal or penis implant surgery. However, moving from training to regular use in surgery is taking a bit longer to be adopted.

The University of Alabama with Emory University piloted orthopaedic shoulder replacement using Google Glass, and Stanford University is developing its own device.

Johns Hopkins neurosurgeons perform institution’s first AR surgeries - John Hopkins 2
The device used in the surgeries at Johns Hopkins is manufactured by Augmedics, a company based in Israel

The device used in the surgeries at Johns Hopkins is manufactured by Augmedics, a company based in Israel.

Witham and colleagues at Johns Hopkins began working with the company last year to pilot a new augmented reality headset. They tested the device by implanting screws in the spine of a cadaver.

The findings from this study, conducted in their capacities as consultants to Augmedics and outside of Johns Hopkins, were published in summer 2019 in the Journal of Neurosurgery Spine.


Johns Hopkins neurosurgeons perform institution’s first AR surgeries - The Leadership Network

The Leadership Network to deliver executive Toyota masterclass in VR

The Leadership Network and Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK are running an executive masterclass, Leading the Toyota Way, in virtual reality.

The pressures caused by Covid-19 are forcing companies to redefine their business models and rethink their processes so that outcomes can be maximised, and workforces can be trained to run organisations under new rules and regulations. The Leading the Toyota Way virtual reality masterclass is designed to help executives build a sustainable roadmap towards optimised operations based on Toyota’s world-renowned Lean practices.

The Leadership Network has been working with Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK and Dr Jeffrey Liker for more than five years, and in that time have trained more than 800 executives to date on how to create a Lean culture in their companies.

The new masterclass captures the essence of Toyota’s approach: going into every day with a healthy sense of crisis. The Lean mindset is about engaging everyone in handling disruptions and solving problems more efficiently on a daily basis.

With the masterclass delivered through Gemba, The Leadership Network’s award-winning virtual reality training solution, this knowledge can be accessed by thousands of companies in need of transformation worldwide.

Dr Liker is a Lean expert of 30+ years and author of The Toyota Way. The masterclass will combine his knowledge of Lean leadership with immersive virtual reality exercises and presentations from Toyota executives, delivering a highly practical learning experience for executives across the globe.

Members who sign up with The Leadership Network will be able to access this expertise from the comfort of their homes by simply putting on a virtual reality headset.

Tim Freeman, deputy managing director at Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK, says: “Having worked in partnership with The Leadership Network since 2015, we are excited about the next chapter in the delivery of Leading the Toyota Way Masterclasses. We are always looking for a better way and this is a prime example of how we can work more effectively with organisations to support their drive for continuous improvement.”

Nathan Robinson, chief executive officer of The Leadership Network, comments: “We’re humbled that Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK has decided to embrace VR and continue our partnership of bringing the knowledge of how to do things better, faster and cheaper to executives around the world.”


Johns Hopkins neurosurgeons perform institution’s first AR surgeries - Scope AR

Scope AR launches web-based app for quickly creating and sharing AR content

Scope AR, the developer of enterprise-class augmented reality solutions, has launched WorkLink Create, a new web-based application for quickly creating and sharing immersive content within the workplace.

WorkLink Create empowers aerospace, medical device and industrial professionals to quickly create their own augmented reality content without any coding or 3D modelling expertise.

“We set out to make the creation of 3D AR content as fast and easy as recording iMovie or creating a PowerPoint,” explains Scott Montgomerie, chief executive officer of Scope AR. “Using our technology platform, any user can easily author their specific knowledge into WorkLink to be widely consumed for training, complex assembly, and field service troubleshooting.”

WorkLink Create transforms augmented reality authorship with a revolutionary, browser-based workflow that natively accepts an exceptionally broad range of CAD (computer-aided design) file formats.

Users of all experience levels can log in to WorkLink Create in their browser, quickly open their engineering model files, and place them within a mixed reality scene.

The users then animate motion and craft annotated work instructions in a drag-and-drop, code-free workflow similar to that of slide animations or consumer video editing applications. 

The augmented reality content is published to their organisation’s secure WorkLink account to be immediately consumed on any device with WorkLink installed, such as smartphones, tablets and wearables.

Johns Hopkins neurosurgeons perform institution’s first AR surgeries - Scope AR 2
WorkLink Create transforms augmented reality authorship with a revolutionary, browser-based workflow

“AR empowers us to digitally transform our products, improve processes, and help our people learn and gain new skills,” comments Tatsuya Baba, executive manager of NTT DATA Corporation. “Scope AR’s groundbreaking technology highlights their commitment to helping IT services companies like us succeed with our digital transformation initiatives. WorkLink Create assists in the execution of our scenario development.”

Commercial use cases that have been accelerated include training, commercial education, and service and support of advanced medical capital equipment such as robotic surgery, Covid-19 testing equipment, and sports medicine.

Montgomerie adds: “WorkLink Create empowers enterprise workforces amidst the unprecedented resource constraints and travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“We accomplished this by improving on the organisational and technical bottlenecks for AR content, thereby helping our customers to maximise continuity in their operations.”

Additionally, WorkLink has augmented operation for mobile power systems, modular data centres, aerospace manufacturing, aerospace fasteners and more. “It is just amazing to be at a point where the needs of the use case overlap with the availability of the right technology, and more importantly, the right partner: Scope AR,” says Karl Hutter, chief executive officer of Click Bond. “We have inspired excitement with common customers, and it’s really the tip of the iceberg where we can take this.”

Lockheed Martin has used Scope AR’s technology in the Orion programme to help build the next manned spacecraft into deep space.

Shelley Peterson, associate fellow at Lockheed Martin, says: “In the past we would have developers spend months developing these types of applications. With Scope AR’s WorkLink platform, we’re bringing this down to 28 minutes, and 4 minutes for an additional panel.”

“The ramp up time on the platform has also been reduced significantly. We can bring in a new developer, have them go through a half day training online and they can start creating work instructions.”

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