The assignee for this patent application is The
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The field of the currently claimed embodiments of this invention relates to imaging systems, and more particularly to augmented field of view imaging systems.
"Retinal surgery is considered one of the most demanding types of surgical intervention. Difficulties related to this type of surgery arise from several factors such as the difficult visualization of surgical targets, poor ergonomics, lack of tactile feedback, complex anatomy, and high accuracy requirements. Specifically regarding intra-operative visualization, surgeons face limitations in field and clarity of view, depth perception and illumination which hinder their ability to identify and localize surgical targets. These limitations result in long operating times and risks of surgical error.
"A number of solutions for aiding surgeons during retinal surgery have been proposed. These include robotic assistants for improving surgical accuracy and mitigating the impact of physiological hand tremor , micro-robots for drug delivery  and sensing instruments for intra-operative data acquisition  have been proposed. In regard to the limitations in visualization, systems for intra-operative view expansion and information overlay have been developed in [4, 5]. In such systems, a mosaic of the retina is created intra-operatively and pre-operative surgical planning and data (e.g. Fundus images) are displayed during surgery for improved guidance.
"Although several solutions have been proposed in the field of minimally invasive surgery and functional imaging [6, 7], retinal surgery imposes additional challenges such as highly variable illumination (the illumination source is manually manipulated inside the eye), partial and full occlusions, focus blur due to narrow depth of field and distortions caused by the flexible eye lens. Although the systems proposed in [4, 5] suggest potential improvements in surgical guidance, they lack robustness to such disturbances."
In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "An augmented field of view imaging system according to an embodiment of the current invention includes a microscope, an image sensor system arranged to receive images of a plurality of fields of view from the microscope as at least one of the microscope and an object is moved relative to each other as the object is being viewed and to provide corresponding image signals, an image processing and data storage system configured to communicate with the image sensor system to receive the image signals and to provide augmented image signals, and at least one of an image injection system or an image display system configured to communicate with the image processing and data storage system to receive the augmented image signals and display an augmented field of view image. The image processing and data storage system is configured to track the plurality of fields of view in real time and register the plurality of fields of view to calculate a mosaic image. The augmented image signals from the image processing and data storage system provide the augmented image such that a live field of view from the microscope is composited with the mosaic image.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"Further objectives and advantages will become apparent from a consideration of the description, drawings, and examples.
"FIGS. 1A and 1B show typical views of the retina through the surgical microscope during vitreo-retinal surgery. FIG. 1A: simulation using retinal phantom; FIG. 1B: in vivo rabbit retina.
"FIGS. 2A and 2B show a couple of examples of augmented fields-of-view of retinas using image tracking, image mosaicking and image compositing according to an embodiment of the current invention. The grayscale regions represent the retinal map (mosaic) registered to the color (live) retinal view. FIG. 2A: simulation using retinal phantom; FIG. 2B: in vivo rabbit retina.
"FIG. 3A is a schematic illustration of an augmented field of view microscopy system according to an embodiment of the current invention.
"FIG. 3B is an image of an augmented field of view microscopy system corresponding to FIG. 3A.
"FIG. 4A is a schematic illustration of an augmented field of view microscopy system according to another embodiment of the current invention.
"FIG. 4B is an image of an augmented field of view microscopy system corresponding to FIG. 4A.
"FIG. 5 helps illustrate some concepts of a hybrid tracking and mosaicking method according to an embodiment of the current invention. A direct visual tracking method (left) is combined with a SURF feature map (right) for coping with full occlusions. The result is the intra-operative retina map shown in the middle. Notice the retina map displayed above is a simple overlay of the templates associated with each map position.
"FIG. 6 is a schematic diagram to help explain a tracking system according to an embodiment of the current invention.
"FIG. 7 shows examples of intra-operative retina maps obtained using the hybrid tracking and mosaicking method according to an embodiment of the current invention.
"FIG. 8 shows an example of a quantitative analysis: the average tracking error of four points arbitrarily chosen on the rabbit retina is manually measured. Slight tracking drifts are highlighted in the plot.
"FIG. 9A shows an example in which a considerable smaller retina map is obtained when tracking in gray-scale images. FIG. 9B: Poor tracking quality measurements lead to the incorporation of incorrect templates to the map in areas with little texture.
"FIG. 10 shows that annotations created by a mentor on the intra-operative mosaic can be overlaid on the novice surgeon view for assistance and guidance during surgery. The mosaic could also be displayed to the surgeon for facilitating the localization of surgical targets.
"FIG. 11A shows an image of ERM peeling; and FIG. 11B shows the corresponding OCT B-Scan of the retina [Ref. 2 of Examples 2].
"FIG. 12 shows components of the imaging and visualization system according to an embodiment of the current invention.
"FIGS. 13A and 13B show a user interface. A) Creating M-Scan with OCT probe. B) Review mode with forceps as input.
"FIG. 14A shows a structured template grid on a retina model according to an embodiment of the current invention. FIG. 14B shows templates matching with candidate image. Colors show level of match confidence: red is low, orange is medium, and green is high. Note: matching confidence is low over the tool and its shadow. FIG. 14C shows back projection of original templates.
"FIG. 15 is a schematic of a retina tracker algorithm processing single video frame according to an embodiment of the current invention.
"FIGS. 16A and 16B show A) M-Scan in Eye Phantom with tape simulating ERM used for validation of overall tracking. B) M-Scan with silicone layer (invisible ERM) demonstrating more realistic surgical scenario. The surgeon uses the forceps as a pointer to review the M-Scan. The green circle is the projection of the pointer on the M-Scan path and corresponds to the location of the blue line on the OCT image and the zoomed-in high-resolution OCT 'slice' image on the left."
For more information, see this patent application: Taylor, Russell H.; Vagvolgyi,
Keywords for this news article include: Information Technology, Information and
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