Royal Philips has unveiled a new mixed reality concept to aid in minimally invasive surgeries, which it has developed with Microsoft, at the MWC 2019 mobile technology conference in Barcelona, Spain.

The new mixed reality concept intended for the surgeons of the future is based on the Philips Azurion image-guided therapy platform and Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 holographic computing platform.

Current minimally invasive surgeries rely heavily on advanced medical imaging technologies such as ultra-low-dose X-ray imaging and ultrasound, to guide surgical actions inside a patient. Philips often provides high tech interventional suites and hybrid operating rooms for such procedures.

“The new mixed reality concept intended for the surgeons of the future is based on the Philips Azurion image-guided therapy platform and Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 holographic computing platform.”

The Philips and Microsoft augmented reality concept, built for HoloLens 2, has been designed to bring live imaging and other sources of vital data currently displayed on large 2D screens into a 3D holographic augmented reality environment that can be easily controlled by the physician.

Philips chief medical officer for image-guided therapy Dr Atul Gupta said: “The transition from open surgery to image-guided procedures has driven a seismic shift in improving patient outcomes and reducing costs, not least by dramatically reducing the length of time a patient stays in a hospital after their procedure.

“On our Azurion platform, we seamlessly integrate a range of data sources in a way that’s intuitive to understand and control. By collaborating with Microsoft and HoloLens 2 we can take it to the next level, immersing the physician in a tailored augmented reality environment. This concept allows me to see the real world superimposed with the live data and 3D medical imagery needed to guide our precision therapy, and importantly also lets me control Azurion with voice recognition, eye tracking and advanced gestures. It’s all about keeping our focus on the patient.”

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Microsoft AI and mixed reality technical fellow Alex Kipman said: “Mixed reality is giving people new ways to interact with the digital and physical world, bringing the benefits of the digital revolution to entirely new experiences across the globe.

“I am thrilled to see companies in a broad range of industries achieve more using the products that we build with our partners and ecosystem. Mixed reality holds great potential in healthcare, and our collaboration with Philips shows how that potential is already beginning to be realised.”

Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 device was unveiled by the company on 24 February at MWC Barcelona. HoloLens is a self-contained holographic computer that has been designed to give surgeons hands-free, heads-up interaction with 3D digital objects. HoloLens 2 builds upon the previous HoloLens product and is more immersive and comfortable for the user, Microsoft said.

MWC, formerly Mobile World Congress, is one of the largest mobile events in the world.