Contemporary surgical microscope systems have excellent optical properties but some desirable features remain unavailable. The number of co-observers is currently restricted, by spatial and optical limitations, to only two. Moreover, ergonomics poses are a problem: Current microscope systems impede free movement and sometimes demand that surgeons take uncomfortable postures over long periods of time. To rectify these issues, some companies developed surgical microscope systems based on a streaming approach. These systems remove some of the limitations. Multi-observer positions, for example, are not independent from each other, for example. In order to overcome the aforementioned limitations, we are currently developing an approach for the next generation of surgical microscope: Namely the fully digital surgical microscope, where the current observation system is replaced with a camera array, allowing real-time 3D reconstruction of surgical scenes and, consequently, the rendering of almost unlimited views for multiple observers. These digital microscopes could make the perspective through the microscope unnecessary allowing the surgeon to move freely and work in more comfortable postures. The requirements on the camera array in such a system have to be determined. For this purpose, we propose of estimation the minimal number of cameras and their positions needed for the 3D reconstruction of microsurgical scenes. The method of estimation is based on the requirements for the 3D reconstruction. Within the MATLAB simulation environment, we have developed a 3D model of a microsurgical scene, used for the determination of the number of required cameras. In a next step a small, compact and costefficient system with few opto-mechanical components could be manufactured.
© 2018 the author(s), published by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston
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