Wearable digital loupe magnification device

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Project Overview

Magnification Loupes for surgical applications have existed for over 100 years. The overall design of these loupes has not changed considerably in that time. An example of these loupes is available at this website (http://designsforvision.com). Essentially these consist of glass magnifying optics mounted in eyeglass frames or head mounted. These loupes are practical and relatively inexpensive but they suffer from a few flaws that I believe current technological advances will be able to improve.

There are 4 areas of improvement for surgical loupes. 1) Loupes are mounted in line of sight. Therefore in order to look at the surgical field the surgeon has to flex the neck which can cause pain, strain and repetitive injury because of poor ergonomics. 2) The loupes are mounted in the visual field and therefore to work without magnification the user must turn the head to look around the loupes. 3) The depth of field and working length are fixed in the current loupe design. 4) The weight of surgical loupes increases with increased magnification and can be uncomfortable.

This invention is a wearable digital video loupe magnification. The invention will be worn like glasses. Two cameras will be mounted on the brow of the glasses to allow for a stereoscopic view of the surgical field. The camera images will then be projected in the field of view of the surgeon to allow for visualization of tissue and anatomical structures. Variations of this design would include head mounted and stand mounted cameras that could provide the image of the surgical field. The digital signal processor (DSP) may be either wired and worn by the surgeon or may be connected wirelessly.

Technology now exists that is likely to be small enough and powerful enough to allow significant improvement in the design of surgical loupes: 1) miniature HD digital cameras exist such as those used in smart phones 2) Wearable displays are being developed for use in entertainment as video viewers. However, these may be able to be modified to display digital camera data.

This invention will improve on existing magnification loupe technology in the following ways:
1) The angle of the camera will allow the surgeonís head position to be neutral to avoid neck strain and repetitive injury. 2) These loupes will allow adjustable magnification and working distance. 3) These loupes will also allow an unobstructed unmagnified view when not in use. This will be done using a prism lens that can be moved out of the field of view or with a miniature high definition LCD screen where the image can be modified to be seen partially or not at all (as desired). 4) The digital camera will allow improved light amplification using digital signal processing. 5) The digital cameras will allow visualization of light outside the visible spectrum for fluorescence mapping.

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Team members from left to right: Chris Larsson, Austin Gehrke, Keith Dodd, Lane Van Epern, Andrew Hajek

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