A virtual view beneath the skin

May 17, 2011 | Source: Technology Review

AnatOnMe projects images of onto a patient’s skin (credit: Microsoft Research)

A handheld device with an attached pico-projector can be used to help patients “see” their injuries, thanks to a project led by Amy Karlson, of Microsoft Research’s Computational User Experiences Group in Redmond, Washington.

The new tool, AnatOnMe, projects a virtual image of broken bone, tendons, and nerves on a patient’s skin, taken from stock images. Tests have shown AnatOnMe encourages patients to stick to their physical therapy regimens, by providing them with a vivid reminder of their condition beneath the skin.

“People are notoriously bad at sticking to their physical therapy regimens,” says  Karlson. Between 30 and 50 percent of patients do not comply with recommended therapies after an injury, generating longer healing times and sometimes aggravating the injury.

Instead of using a complicated autocorrection system that tries to match up the image precisely with the surface of the patient’s skin, the projection works simply by lining it up with the eye of the viewer.