A team of Israeli doctors have conducted heart surgery while monitoring their progress with a floating, real-time holographic image of the patient’s heart, the first time such a system has been used in the operating room

October 28, 2013 5:35 pm

Pioneering heart operation heralds Philips’ shift in strategy

By Matt Steinglass in Amsterdam

A team of Israeli doctors have conducted heart surgery while monitoring their progress with a floating, real-time holographic image of the patient’s heart, the first time such a system has been used in the operating room. The experimental system, a collaboration between the Dutch electronics group Philipsand the Israeli company RealView Imaging, has been used in eight trial operations so far. It takes the ultrasound and X-ray information collected by sensors during the procedure and uses it to project a three-dimensional image of the patient’s heart into the air, which surgeons can explore and manipulate much like the displays in Hollywood science-fiction films such as Iron Man.Dr Elchanan Bruckheimer, the Israeli heart surgeon who performed some of the procedures, will present the results of the trials at a symposium on cardiovascular surgery in San Francisco on Tuesday.

In a statement, a colleague of Dr Bruckheimer’s, Dr Einat Birk, said the holographic projection had allowed her “to intuitively understand and interrogate the 3D spatial anatomy of the patient’s heart, as well as to navigate and appreciate the device-tissue interaction during the procedure”.

The system uses Philips ultrasound and X-ray scanners, which are normally hooked up to high-definition flatscreen displays.

Such systems are employed in so-called “minimally invasive procedures”, where surgeons use sensor data to manipulate instruments inside the patient without having to make large incisions. The procedures save hospitals money by shortening patients’ recovery times.

The interactive holographic display is provided by RealView, a start-up launched in 2008 by Aviad Kaufman and Shaul Gelman, formerly executives in Israel’s high-tech defence industry.

In recent years Philips has invested heavily in its medical imaging arm, which has become an important growth division as the company moves away from mature product lines such as consumer audio-visual devices.

The shift towards health, lifestyle and lighting divisions under Frans van Houten, who took over as Philips’ chief executive two years ago, has been highly successful. The company, once seen as struggling to redefine itself, announced last week that it had comfortably beaten expectations on earnings in the third quarter.

But last week Philips said it was breaking off a deal closed early this year to spin off its audio-visual division to the Japanese group Funai Electric for €150m. Philips said it would sue Funai for violating the terms of the contract, while Funai has denied any wrongdoing.

“It’s a big surprise, because Philips saw Funai as a very reliable partner,” said Hans Slob, an analyst at Rabobank. “But the division was not a big lossmaker, so it’s not the end of the world.”


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Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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