Science and Medicine

NOT EXACTLY ROCKET SCIENCE Collaborations with NASA Help Sharpen Surgical Tools

By Mike Goodkind


A
 plastic surgeon steps into an “operating room,” dons goggles and gloves, and begins to rearrange the deformed facial features of a child. The first result doesn’t please him, so he starts over. He manipulates the features repeatedly until he finds a satisfactory result.

NASA’s Muriel Ross views “virtual 
surgery.”NASA’s Muriel Ross views
“virtual surgery.”


This may not sound much like rocket science. But it is closer than one might imagine.

The surgeon is operating in the realm of “virtual reality” as part of a collaboration between NASA’s Ames Research Center and Stanford’s Department of Functional Restoration to develop technology that will enable physicians to try out a variety of surgical outcomes before ever stepping into a real operating room.

Virtual Reality Surgery (Plain text)
Virtual Reality Surgery (Adobe Acrobat format - 107k)

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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1996

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