Non-contact control developed for medical imaging displays

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Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut in Berlin announced they have developed a display for the medical industry that combines a 3D screen with a non-contact user interface that allows images to be rotated by hand gestures.

With the non-contact image control system, a physician can rotate a three-dimensional CT image that appears to float with a gesture of their fingers, while with another gesture they can click onto the next image, according to Wolfgang Schlaak, who heads the department at the Fraunhofer Institute.

“There are two cameras installed above the display that projects the three-dimensional image,” Schlaak said. “Since each camera sees the pointing finger from a different angle, image processing software can then identify its exact position in space.”

A third camera, integrated in the frame of the display, scans the user’s face and eyes to identify the inclination of the user’s head and the direction in which the eyes are focused.  The associated software generates the appropriate pair of stereoscopic images for each eye. The cameras record 100 frames per minute so, even if the user moves their head, the system instantly adapts the images, he said.

“In this way, the user always sees a high-quality three-dimensional image on the display, even while moving about. This is essential in an operating theater, and allows the physician to act naturally when carrying out routine tasks,” Schlaak said. “The unique feature of this system is that it combines a 3D display screen with a non-contact user interface.”