Given the importance of surgeons staying sterile in the operating room, it’s best not to touch dirty touch screens when they enter the operating room,media New Atlas reported. However, a new type of wireless wearable device allows them to browse digital content such as preoperative plans without touching the screen.
The prototype device, developed by the University of Waterloo in Canada, is called Tip-Tap. It consists of a custom RFID (radio frequency identification) tag that can be easily applied to the surface of disposable surgical gloves or directly in the form of an “electronic tattoo” on the skin. The cheap label antenna is divided into two separate bands, one on the thumb and the other along the index finger.
Each strip contains three chips in a row that allow the user to make contact with the thumb and finger strips in different ways, allowing the user to make contact with any chip on one strip and any chip on the other. Depending on the contact with the chip, different electrical signals are generated.
Like other RFID tags, RFID tags used in this new system do not require a battery or hard-wired power supply. Instead, its antenna is temporarily powered by radio signals from reader devices such as tablets or computers. In this way, Tip-Tap can transfer its electrical signal to such a device, where it is converted into different commands that control the display on the screen.
Professor Daniel Vogel said: “What usually happens now with a pre-digital plan is that the assistant is responsible for controlling the computer and communicating with the surgeon, but it is slow and difficult. If the surgeon tries to use a touch screen or mouse to control itself, this is problematic because it requires continuous disinfection… The idea is that if Tip-Tap is installed in surgical gloves, surgeons can control the computer on their own, and this will not affect their other movements.