You trust the Xbox 360’s motion-sensing Kinect accessory to provide enjoyable entertainment, but would you trust it with your life? Doctor’s at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center sure hope so, and they are using the gaming tool to assist them during complex surgical procedures, in order to provide real-time data without having to grab a computer mouse.
During operations, the surgeons often rely on detailed CT scans in order to map their next critical moves. Up until now, that meant leaving the sterile environment of the operating room to use a mouse and keyboard, requiring them to wash up each and every time. Now, using the motion technology of the Kinect, the doctors can review and study these scans right from the surgery room, and since their hands never touch a piece of equipment, they can remain sterile the entire time.

“We’re able to bring that computer as if it was the last member of our team, into the working field of the operating room,” says Dr. Calvin Law, a cancer surgeon at Sunnybrook. This isn’t the first time that Microsoft’s Kinect controller has been used in a medical setting, and patients have already been able to benefit from its unique capabilities. With these kinds of ambitious projects already up and running, we can wait to see what the tiny black bar’s future holds.