Once again I am pleasantly surprised with the truly useful and helpful applications being thought up for the Kinect. Just last week we saw a hack providing a rudimentary artificial vision system for the blind — clumsy and rough, but the idea that it’s possible from off-the-shelf components and open-source software is mind-blowing.
Now we see an incredibly practical medical application: allowing surgeons to navigate data and imagery while gloved up and in the OR. Although a nurse or intern could do it, this frees more hands and eyes for essential surgery support and allows the operating surgeon to check things out directly and instantly. Odds the guy in the video is a gamer?
It’s only been used to assist a few surgeries so far (at Sunnybrook Hostpital in Toronto), and there are no concrete plans to expand it to other hospitals or commercialize the tech, but considering how useful it is, and how easy to implement, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this in many more locations come 2012.