skip to Main Content

Telestration: How Helena Mentis Applies Design Thinking to Surgery

Telestration: How Helena Mentis Applies Design Thinking to Surgery

Telestration: How Helena Mentis Applies Design Thinking to Surgery

Helena Mentis is the director of the Bodies in Motion Lab at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) with research spanning human-computer interaction (HCI), computer supported cooperative work (CSCW) and medical informatics. During a recent visit to the Design Lab at UC San Diego, Mentis talked about her research on surgery in the operating room.

She examines the medical world through surgical instruments and the workflow inside the operating room. Mentis hones in on minimally invasive surgery and the reliance toward images.  She is particularly interested in how medical professionals see and share visual information in a collaborative fashion, which has grown over the past several years. She asks, “What happens if surgeons were given greater control over the image? What would happen to the workflow? Would it change anything?”

In one study at Thomas Hospital in London, surgeons were using a lot of pointing gestures to direct the operation. Confusion would arise and the surgeon would need to repeat his exact intention with others. This break in the workflow inspired Mentis’ team to ask: what if we were to build a touchless illustration system that responded to the surgeon’s gestures? Her team set out to build what she calls “telestration,” which enables surgeons to use gestures to illustrate their intentions through an interactive display.

During another operation, the surgeon encountered a soft bone and had to stop the procedure. As a result, the surgeon had take off their gloves to re-examine the tissue on the visual display. Mentis notes, “There is a tight coupling between images on display and feeling with the instrument in hand.” If the image on display could be more closely integrated with the workflow, would this save time in the operating room?After publishing her findings, people raved over how voice narration rather than gesture aided imaging and collaboration in surgery. Consequently Mentis asked, “If given the opportunity would doctors use voice or gesture?” The ensuing observations revealed that while doctors stated their preference for voice, gesture was more frequently used for shaping telestration images. While voice narration and gestures provided greater interaction with the image, surgeons actually spent more time in surgery. Mentis reasons, “There is more opportunity for collaborative discussion with the information.” Interestingly, this did add time to the overall operation, but it also yielded greater opportunities to uncover and discuss critical information.

About Helena Mentis, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Information Systems
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Helena Mentis, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Information Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her research contributes to the areas of human-computer interaction (HCI), computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), and health informatics. She investigates how new interactive sensors can be integrated into the operating room to support medical collaboration and care. Before UMBC, she was a research fellow at Harvard Medical School, held a joint postdoctoral fellowship at Microsoft Research Cambridge and the University of Cambridge, and was an ERCIM postdoctoral scholar at Mobile Life in Sweden. She received her Ph.D. in Information Sciences and Technology from Pennsylvania State University.

Helena Mentis is the director of the Bodies in Motion Lab at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) with research spanning human-computer interaction (HCI), computer supported cooperative work (CSCW) and medical informatics. During a recent visit to the Design Lab at UC San Diego, Mentis talked about her research on surgery in the operating room.

She examines the medical world through surgical instruments and the workflow inside the operating room. Mentis hones in on minimally invasive surgery and the reliance toward images.  She is particularly interested in how medical professionals see and share visual information in a collaborative fashion, which has grown over the past several years. She asks, “What happens if surgeons were given greater control over the image? What would happen to the workflow? Would it change anything?”

In one study at Thomas Hospital in London, surgeons were using a lot of pointing gestures to direct the operation. Confusion would arise and the surgeon would need to repeat his exact intention with others. This break in the workflow inspired Mentis’ team to ask: what if we were to build a touchless illustration system that responded to the surgeon’s gestures? Her team set out to build what she calls “telestration,” which enables surgeons to use gestures to illustrate their intentions through an interactive display.

During another operation, the surgeon encountered a soft bone and had to stop the procedure. As a result, the surgeon had take off their gloves to re-examine the tissue on the visual display. Mentis notes, “There is a tight coupling between images on display and feeling with the instrument in hand.” If the image on display could be more closely integrated with the workflow, would this save time in the operating room?After publishing her findings, people raved over how voice narration rather than gesture aided imaging and collaboration in surgery. Consequently Mentis asked, “If given the opportunity would doctors use voice or gesture?” The ensuing observations revealed that while doctors stated their preference for voice, gesture was more frequently used for shaping telestration images. While voice narration and gestures provided greater interaction with the image, surgeons actually spent more time in surgery. Mentis reasons, “There is more opportunity for collaborative discussion with the information.” Interestingly, this did add time to the overall operation, but it also yielded greater opportunities to uncover and discuss critical information.

About Helena Mentis, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Information Systems
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Helena Mentis, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Information Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her research contributes to the areas of human-computer interaction (HCI), computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), and health informatics. She investigates how new interactive sensors can be integrated into the operating room to support medical collaboration and care. Before UMBC, she was a research fellow at Harvard Medical School, held a joint postdoctoral fellowship at Microsoft Research Cambridge and the University of Cambridge, and was an ERCIM postdoctoral scholar at Mobile Life in Sweden. She received her Ph.D. in Information Sciences and Technology from Pennsylvania State University.

Helena Mentis is the director of the Bodies in Motion Lab at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) with research spanning human-computer interaction (HCI), computer supported cooperative work (CSCW) and medical informatics. During a recent visit to the Design Lab at UC San Diego, Mentis talked about her research on surgery in the operating room.

She examines the medical world through surgical instruments and the workflow inside the operating room. Mentis hones in on minimally invasive surgery and the reliance toward images.  She is particularly interested in how medical professionals see and share visual information in a collaborative fashion, which has grown over the past several years. She asks, “What happens if surgeons were given greater control over the image? What would happen to the workflow? Would it change anything?”

In one study at Thomas Hospital in London, surgeons were using a lot of pointing gestures to direct the operation. Confusion would arise and the surgeon would need to repeat his exact intention with others. This break in the workflow inspired Mentis’ team to ask: what if we were to build a touchless illustration system that responded to the surgeon’s gestures? Her team set out to build what she calls “telestration,” which enables surgeons to use gestures to illustrate their intentions through an interactive display.

During another operation, the surgeon encountered a soft bone and had to stop the procedure. As a result, the surgeon had take off their gloves to re-examine the tissue on the visual display. Mentis notes, “There is a tight coupling between images on display and feeling with the instrument in hand.” If the image on display could be more closely integrated with the workflow, would this save time in the operating room?After publishing her findings, people raved over how voice narration rather than gesture aided imaging and collaboration in surgery. Consequently Mentis asked, “If given the opportunity would doctors use voice or gesture?” The ensuing observations revealed that while doctors stated their preference for voice, gesture was more frequently used for shaping telestration images. While voice narration and gestures provided greater interaction with the image, surgeons actually spent more time in surgery. Mentis reasons, “There is more opportunity for collaborative discussion with the information.” Interestingly, this did add time to the overall operation, but it also yielded greater opportunities to uncover and discuss critical information.

About Helena Mentis, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Information Systems
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Helena Mentis, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Information Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her research contributes to the areas of human-computer interaction (HCI), computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), and health informatics. She investigates how new interactive sensors can be integrated into the operating room to support medical collaboration and care. Before UMBC, she was a research fellow at Harvard Medical School, held a joint postdoctoral fellowship at Microsoft Research Cambridge and the University of Cambridge, and was an ERCIM postdoctoral scholar at Mobile Life in Sweden. She received her Ph.D. in Information Sciences and Technology from Pennsylvania State University.

Read Next

Don Norman Design Fund

Announcing the Norman Design Fund!

UC San Diego Design Lab is excited to announce the Norman Design Fund. The Norman Design Fund provides small, rapid allocations of funds to support student activities in human-centered design (HCD). The goal of the fund is to enhance and encourage human-centered design work by UC San Diego students. Applications are open to ALL students at UC San Diego.
LAUNCH_Design Lab

LAUNCH: A new community innovation platform will empower rural cancer patients

A new web platform released by LAUNCH (Linking & Amplifying User-Centered Networks through Connected Health), a public-private collaboration of which the University of California San Diego Design Lab is a founding member, will enable community-led connected cancer innovation. The platform, “LAUNCHPAD,” may be found at launchhealth.org.

"This contextual research demonstrates the complexity of community-based design. It shows how faith, independence, and family are critical to understanding healthcare. Many standard methods of applying community-based workers completely ignore these issues." - Don Norman, Design Lab Director

Unlocking Your Potential: The Benefits of Paid Learning Opportunities at UC San Diego Design Lab

Paid learning opportunities can provide many benefits, from deepening your understanding of the subject matter to offering insights into potential career paths and providing the revenue needed to fund your college experience.
Overcrowded Verganti Design

Don Norman: Overcrowded, by Roberto Verganti: In favor of criticism

I was just in Germany, in Herzogenaurach to be precise, at Adidas headquarters. (Hardly anyone knows where Herzogenaurach is — it’s a 20 minute taxi from Nuremberg.) I was at a conference organized by my old friend (and co-author) Roberto Verganti, from the business school at Politecnico di Milano. Years ago, he and I had a debate in Milan about the value of Human-Centered Design (HCD) and the way it is normally practiced. To the audience’s great surprise, we both agreed:

1. HCD is a powerful tool for improving existing products. That is, it is a powerful tool for incremental innovation.
2. HCD, by its very nature (hill-climbing plus a kind of design by committee), is a really bad tool for radical innovation.

Steven Dow And His Team Tackle Innovation In Crowdsourcing

As part of the Design Lab's graduate course work on Crowdsourcing taught by Steven Dow, students…

Design Lab Heads Downtown to Present New Strategies and Program to Take on Society’s Most Daunting Challenges

Last week, UC San Diego Design Lab Assistant Professor of Cognitive Science Steven Dow and…

Back To Top