Autostereoscopic 3D Display in Laparoscopic Surgery

N. A. Dodgson (1), N. E. Wiseman (1), S. R. Lang (1), D. C. Dunn (2), & A. R. L. Travis (3)

University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
(1) Computer Laboratory, Pembroke Street CB2 3QG;
(2) Department of Surgery, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hills Road CB2 2QQ;
(3) Department of Engineering, Trumpington Street CB2 1PZ.

Presented at CAR '95, Berlin, 21-24 June, 1995, pp.1139-1144.


An autostereoscopic 3D display can be viewed without the need for special glasses or other headgear. A multi-view autostereoscopic display has the additional benefit that the observer can look around objects in the image simply by moving his head from side to side, as in real life. Such a 3D display would prove useful in laparoscopic surgery where it would give the surgeon much-needed depth perception without the need to alter any other operating procedure. For example: the lack of a headset means that the surgeon retains vital eye contact with his immediate environment and his staff.

This paper describes such a multi-view autostereoscopic 3D display, developed at the University of Cambridge. Initial investigations into the feasibility of this device in laparoscopic surgery have been made in a co-operative effort between members of the Computer Laboratory, Department of Engineering, Department of Surgery, and a manufacturer of micro-surgical equipment. The outcomes of these investigations are discussed. A plausible design for a 10mm diameter autostereoscopic laparoscope has been proposed, and a prototype produced. Electronic hardware has been developed to multiplex multiple camera inputs into a live autostereoscopic 3D TV signal. Initial trials with an experienced laparoscopic surgeon are proposed.

This paper also considers the challenges of this new technology as applied to laparoscopy, and assesses the benefits and costs of autostereoscopic 3D display with respect to conventional 2D TV display.