Virtual Loupes: An Augmented Reality Aid for Microsurgery

Microsurgery requires the use of loupes, which are optical elements attached to eyeglass frames that magnify objects such as blood vessels and nerves. To address the inflexibility of loupes, we have developed an augmented reality system that provides virtual loupes with a video see-through headset, allowing for easy-to-use variable zoom in a surgical context. Our prototype solution utilizes a gaze-controlled interface, which allows for the zoom level to be selected in either a discrete or continuous manner. A feasibility study revealed both the potential of virtual loupes and the limitations of current technology to realize this concept.

One participant said that we were essentially

“combining the benefits of loupes with the benefits of a

microscope,” which suggests that it is useful to have variable

magnification in a form that is more portable and flexible than a

large, fixed microscope.

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