Researchers at Ben-Gurion University in Israel have developed a hand gesture recognition system, called Gestix, that enables doctors to manipulate digital images during medical procedures by motioning instead of touching a screen, keyboard or mouse, which compromises sterility and could spread infection.

Helman Stern, a principal investigator on the project and a professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management at BGU, said that Gestix requires initial calibration where the machine recognizes the surgeons' hand gestures. A second calibration stage requires surgeons to learn and implement eight navigation gestures, by rapidly moving the hand away from a "neutral area", and back again.

Lead researcher Juan P. Wachs, a recent Ph.D. recipient from the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management at BGU, added, "A sterile human-machine interface is of supreme importance because it is the means by which the surgeon controls medical information, avoiding patient contamination. This could replace touch screens now used in many hospital operating rooms which must be sealed to prevent accumulation or spreading of contaminants, and requires smooth surfaces that must be thoroughly cleaned after each procedure - but sometimes aren't."

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