IMMERS is the Incubator for Medical Mixed and Extended Reality at Stanford. The goal of Medical Mixed Reality is to improve patient care by fusing a patient’s images with their body, enabling physicians to look inside them, to see anatomy, function and disease in its actual location, thereby improving diagnosis, disease assessment, treatment planning and procedure guidance. IMMERS is a place to bring thought-leading physicians, engineers and scientists together to rapidly iterate proof-of-concept (POC) solutions for specific medical needs. Key facilities include an “envisioning touchdown space” where physician collaborators can meet with developers and designers to define new solutions, a “fusion lab” where scientists working with smart tools, therapeutic devices and live imaging modalities such as Ultrasound can work with advanced tracking systems to integrate them seamlessly into mixed reality, a “developer space” where coders can create shared software pipelines and POC-specific tools to implement prototype solutions, and a “simulation lab” where POCs can be demonstrated, tested and iterated during medical examinations and procedures in phantoms and simulators.
Current collaborations include mechanical engineers working on solid tissue mechanics (Kuhl Lab) mechanical engineers working on needle tracking, shape sensing, haptics and remote manipulation (Cutkosky lab), electrical engineers working on tracking implanted sensors (Pauly Lab), radiology scientists working on ultrasound (Dahl Lab), body, breast and musculoskeletal MRI (Hargreaves lab) and neuro imaging (McNab lab), as well as breast surgeons (Amanda Wheeler), plastic surgeons (Gordon Lee), and other interested physicians from otolaryngology, cardiology, neurosurgery, neurology, orthopedics, vascular surgery, and interventional radiology, with additional new department expressing interest on a frequent basis. IMMERS is aligned with the Stanford 3D lab, and well as with virtual reality efforts through SCIEN, SNI, Cardiology, and Neurosurgery, but retains its unique focus on Mixed Reality in which the goal is accurate in situ fusion of patients and their images. IMMERS also hopes to support Bioengineering with a potential project classes in the future, as space and resources permit, thus fostering the linkage of engineering students to physicians in the pursuit of tractable, important real-world problems and solutions.