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UX Design Award for HoloMed

Drum roll for HoloMed: We are overjoyed about receiving the UX Design Award 2020 for our augmented reality project and are celebrating this fantastic achievement. The AR app supports surgeons and makes brain surgeries safer and more efficient. The fact that HoloMed is optimally tailored to the neurosurgeons’ requirements in the operating room convinced the jury of experts in this global competition. They awarded one of the coveted prizes in the Concept category to HoloMed for its outstanding user experience.

The UX Design Awards are an international competition for user and customer experience. In 2020, the jury shortlisted 102 projects from more than 34 countries to participate in the UX Design Awards 2020. And our AR application HoloMed is among this year’s 15 awardees: "Unlike many augmented reality applications, the HoloMed concept has been tailored to a specific and highly relevant use case. The jury has been convinced by the skillful application of AR and gaze control technology in combination with a non-distracting and precise interface design. The result can credibly support neurosurgeons in very stressful situations with no failure tolerance. The reduction of failure rates in ventricular punctures would significantly improve patients’ safety and is therefore worthy of an award," says jury member Simone Heißel, who presented the award at the ceremony on September 3, 2020.

AR for safer surgeries

Ventricular punctures are routine procedures in neurosurgery and are performed about 20,000 times per year in Germany alone. In order to identify the optimal puncture site and angle, the surgeon has to drill a hole into the skull and insert a catheter. The problem: The surgeon doesn’t see the actual target – a brain cavity filled with brain fluid. Therefore, only 2 out of 3 punctures are optimally placed.

This is where HoloMed comes into play: The AR application supports the surgeon in locating the puncture site and angle of the needle. To this end, HoloMed uses data from CT or MRT scans to calculate a 3D model of the brain and its ventricular system. Using AR glasses, this model is placed over the patient’s head with millimeter precision, accurately showing low-lying, invisible structures. HoloMed displays virtual graphical elements in the surgeons’ field of vision to guide them in optimally positioning the needle.

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From requirements to UI design

In order to adapt the application to the users’ requirements and work processes, we asked the neurosurgeons to participate in the development right from the start. We analyzed their requirements on site and repeatedly tested prototypes in real-life conditions in a fully equipped OR. This allowed us to observe the medics during the entire test run and quickly determine what works well and where there is room for improvement. The users’ valuable feedback was then incorporated in several iterations. The result: a consistent design language that is functional and aesthetic at the same time. That way, HoloMed optimally supports surgeons in their procedures.

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"Our novel application allows us to make an important contribution to the future of medical engineering. Our innovative and precise work doesn’t only meet the users’ requirements, it has also convinced the jury of the UX Design Awards – this makes us very happy! For the first time, the UX Design Awards were presented virtually. The entire project team really enjoyed the ceremony and is overjoyed about receiving the award," says Dominik Zenth, who was in charge of the project at UID’s end.

The project is supported by the Federal Ministry of Research and Education. Our further project partners where mbits imaging GmbH, the Ulm University Hospital and the Institute of Technology of Karlsruhe University.