"The system will enhance the current method of clinical palpation by transforming it from a qualitative to a quantitative examination," said James Mayrose, research assistant professor in the UB Department of Emergency Medicine, doctoral candidate in the UB Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, a senior designer of the glove and co-investigator on the project.
Mayrose and medical professionals in the UB departments of Emergency Medicine and Radiology are conducting studies of the glove with human subjects at the Erie County Medical Center.
The UB work represents a departure from the usual route taken by researchers studying VR for use in medical applications, Kesavadas noted.
"Just about everyone who is looking at virtual medicine right now is interested in surgical applications," he said.
But those applications are many years away.
Kesavadas sees no reason to wait to reap the benefits of VR for diagnostics.
"This system could revolutionize imaging in medicine," said Anthony Billittier, M.D., medical director for the Office of Prehospital Care at the Erie County Medical Center, and co-director of the Calspan-UB Research Center's Center for Transportation Injury Research (CenTIR), which is funding the work.
Billittier is particularly excited about the UB researchers' creation of a database of information that accurately describes the biomechanical properties of soft tissue under various conditions.
"Right now, if a patient has been in a car crash and has abdominal pain, for example, we can use ultrasound in the trauma room to tell us if there is fluid in the abdomen," explained Billittier, "but we can't really tell why -- is it a shattered spleen or a lacerated liver? A database with information in it that could tell us that, just based on the consistency of what the phy
Contact: Ellen Goldbaum
University at Buffalo