AR + AI in MedTech: Innovating Healthcare and Expanding Verticals | By Michael Freeman, CEO of Ocutrx Technologies Inc

Both artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) are making news headlines around the globe, leaving individuals wondering how this new technology will specifically alter their daily lives. Ocutrx Technologies, Inc. is a future-forward medical device company, harnessing the power of both AI and AI for patients and surgeons.

Ocutrx’s first device coming to market later this year is the OcuLenzTM AR headset. OcuLenz will be the first device that corrects the devastating effects of Advanced Macular Degeneration. This revolutionary headset allows users to see as if they did not have a scotoma (blind spot), enabling them to regain their independence and complete everyday tasks such as cooking, dressing, reading, and taking medications. The AI applications in the OcuLenz AR headset will “learn” the user’s preferences and habits, making the headset easier to use over time (similar to how our cellphones learn our behavior). The OcuLenz utilizes SLAM technology (simultaneous localization and mapping), which uses sensors to identify people and objects in the immediate vicinity to help users navigate the area around them. This also allows physicians to monitor the condition of the patient’s eye and curate a succinct treatment plan.

The development of the OcuLenz has aided in propelling the progress and development of new technologies. In addition to AR for low-vision patients, Ocutrx is also innovating a fully digital surgery suite called the OR-Bot® Surgical Visualization Theatre. The OR-Bot’s completely redesigned system keeps a surgeon’s ergonomics at the top of mind and frees them from slouching into a standard optical microscope. Instead of looking into oculars, the OR-Bot offers surgeons two unique visualization methods depending on their preference: either an AR headset or a 3D monitor. For instance, if an Ophthalmologist were performing an operation on a patient’s retina, the digital surgery feed being captured by the OR-Bot’s 12K microscope can be displayed on the ORLenz headset. The ORLenz AR headset has 5k resolution, 120 degrees field-of-view, is completely tetherless, and lightweight. For the first time, surgeons will have complete mobility and the ability to perform surgeries in an ergonomically advantageous way.

The AI capabilities of the OR-Bot are vast, and like AI in many other industries, just getting started. The rapid development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in healthcare will revolutionize how medicine is practiced in the next few decades, and have the potential to drastically improve patient outcomes.

The OR-Bot’s AI algorithms can analyze medical imaging data, such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans, to assist surgeons in diagnosing conditions with greater accuracy. Ocutrx is working with university hospitals to help detect abnormalities, identify potential areas of concern, and provide quantitative measurements.

Additionally, this unique AI can assist surgeons in preoperative planning and generate personalized surgical plans. Once these plans are created, the ORLenz’s “Medtiles” allow a surgeon to pull up preoperative information during surgery so they can reference the plan during complex procedures. During surgery, video and sensor data can be monitored and analyzed

against pre-op MRI and other imaging, then using the ORLenz headset and 5G Local Edge Computing, the organs can be augmented with “semantic segmentation” which color shades areas of human anatomy in real-time. Cameras and sensors in the ORLenz capture data during surgery that can be used to generate insights and reveal process efficiencies. These real-time video analytics can be reviewed with patients post op and within the hospital system, which will help all parties provide improved health and safety monitoring.

A surgery can also be monitored with ORLenz AI to avoid mistakes and improve outcomes. For instance, sensors on the ORLenz worn by both doctors and nurses can count tools, swabs, sponges, clips and other items inserted into the body and do an automatic count upon voice command, so that, by the end of the surgery, surgical teams can ensure that all items are retracted before closing the incision.

AI will be revolutionary in the OR is data analysis and research. Currently, AI engines are being fed millions of hours of surgery and supplying surgeons with evidence-based decision-making by identifying patterns and trends. Using AI Assisted Annotation, the OR-Bot and ORLenz will be able to analyze and track tool movements and performance, including range and economy of motion, and the detection of their spatial bounds. A surgeon wearing the ORLenz AR headset can be given fiducial markers, aiding their techniques using data from other successful surgeries.

AI has incredible potential to be a life changing tool in the OR. However, it is important to note that AI is only as good as its interpreters. AI and AR are simply tools to augment the skills of surgeons, not replace them. Surgeons and surgical teams will continue to play a vital role in decision-making, patient communication, and providing the human touch that is crucial in healthcare.

Editor’s Note: Michael Freeman, CEO of Ocutrx Technologies Inc, is a serial entrepreneur with patents in many different scientific fields, including Mobile Video, Nano-Chemistry, Radio Frequency, Identification Tag technologies, Power Supply Systems on a Chip (PSSoC); and Augmented Reality. Prior to Ocutrx, Mr. Freeman served as CEO and president for several revolutionary technology companies — including one of the largest suppliers of computer products to the State of California. Mr. Freeman won the 2015 & 2016 Frost & Sullivan IoT Product Excellence Award, has a BS in Political Science and Government from Oklahoma State University, and a Juris Doctor (JD) from the University of Tulsa College of Law.

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