skip to Main Content
design lab helena mentis telestration surgery

Telestration: How Helena Mentis Applies Design Thinking to Surgery

Telestration: How Helena Mentis Applies Design Thinking to Surgery

Telestration: How Helena Mentis Applies Design Thinking to Surgery

Helena Mentis is the director of the Bodies in Motion Lab at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) with research spanning human-computer interaction (HCI), computer supported cooperative work (CSCW) and medical informatics. During a recent visit to the Design Lab at UC San Diego, Mentis talked about her research on surgery in the operating room.

She examines the medical world through surgical instruments and the workflow inside the operating room. Mentis hones in on minimally invasive surgery and the reliance toward images.  She is particularly interested in how medical professionals see and share visual information in a collaborative fashion, which has grown over the past several years. She asks, “What happens if surgeons were given greater control over the image? What would happen to the workflow? Would it change anything?”

In one study at Thomas Hospital in London, surgeons were using a lot of pointing gestures to direct the operation. Confusion would arise and the surgeon would need to repeat his exact intention with others. This break in the workflow inspired Mentis’ team to ask: what if we were to build a touchless illustration system that responded to the surgeon’s gestures? Her team set out to build what she calls “telestration,” which enables surgeons to use gestures to illustrate their intentions through an interactive display.

During another operation, the surgeon encountered a soft bone and had to stop the procedure. As a result, the surgeon had take off their gloves to re-examine the tissue on the visual display. Mentis notes, “There is a tight coupling between images on display and feeling with the instrument in hand.” If the image on display could be more closely integrated with the workflow, would this save time in the operating room?After publishing her findings, people raved over how voice narration rather than gesture aided imaging and collaboration in surgery. Consequently Mentis asked, “If given the opportunity would doctors use voice or gesture?” The ensuing observations revealed that while doctors stated their preference for voice, gesture was more frequently used for shaping telestration images. While voice narration and gestures provided greater interaction with the image, surgeons actually spent more time in surgery. Mentis reasons, “There is more opportunity for collaborative discussion with the information.” Interestingly, this did add time to the overall operation, but it also yielded greater opportunities to uncover and discuss critical information.

About Helena Mentis, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Information Systems
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Helena Mentis, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Information Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her research contributes to the areas of human-computer interaction (HCI), computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), and health informatics. She investigates how new interactive sensors can be integrated into the operating room to support medical collaboration and care. Before UMBC, she was a research fellow at Harvard Medical School, held a joint postdoctoral fellowship at Microsoft Research Cambridge and the University of Cambridge, and was an ERCIM postdoctoral scholar at Mobile Life in Sweden. She received her Ph.D. in Information Sciences and Technology from Pennsylvania State University.

Helena Mentis is the director of the Bodies in Motion Lab at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) with research spanning human-computer interaction (HCI), computer supported cooperative work (CSCW) and medical informatics. During a recent visit to the Design Lab at UC San Diego, Mentis talked about her research on surgery in the operating room.

She examines the medical world through surgical instruments and the workflow inside the operating room. Mentis hones in on minimally invasive surgery and the reliance toward images.  She is particularly interested in how medical professionals see and share visual information in a collaborative fashion, which has grown over the past several years. She asks, “What happens if surgeons were given greater control over the image? What would happen to the workflow? Would it change anything?”

In one study at Thomas Hospital in London, surgeons were using a lot of pointing gestures to direct the operation. Confusion would arise and the surgeon would need to repeat his exact intention with others. This break in the workflow inspired Mentis’ team to ask: what if we were to build a touchless illustration system that responded to the surgeon’s gestures? Her team set out to build what she calls “telestration,” which enables surgeons to use gestures to illustrate their intentions through an interactive display.

During another operation, the surgeon encountered a soft bone and had to stop the procedure. As a result, the surgeon had take off their gloves to re-examine the tissue on the visual display. Mentis notes, “There is a tight coupling between images on display and feeling with the instrument in hand.” If the image on display could be more closely integrated with the workflow, would this save time in the operating room?After publishing her findings, people raved over how voice narration rather than gesture aided imaging and collaboration in surgery. Consequently Mentis asked, “If given the opportunity would doctors use voice or gesture?” The ensuing observations revealed that while doctors stated their preference for voice, gesture was more frequently used for shaping telestration images. While voice narration and gestures provided greater interaction with the image, surgeons actually spent more time in surgery. Mentis reasons, “There is more opportunity for collaborative discussion with the information.” Interestingly, this did add time to the overall operation, but it also yielded greater opportunities to uncover and discuss critical information.

About Helena Mentis, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Information Systems
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Helena Mentis, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Information Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her research contributes to the areas of human-computer interaction (HCI), computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), and health informatics. She investigates how new interactive sensors can be integrated into the operating room to support medical collaboration and care. Before UMBC, she was a research fellow at Harvard Medical School, held a joint postdoctoral fellowship at Microsoft Research Cambridge and the University of Cambridge, and was an ERCIM postdoctoral scholar at Mobile Life in Sweden. She received her Ph.D. in Information Sciences and Technology from Pennsylvania State University.

Helena Mentis is the director of the Bodies in Motion Lab at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) with research spanning human-computer interaction (HCI), computer supported cooperative work (CSCW) and medical informatics. During a recent visit to the Design Lab at UC San Diego, Mentis talked about her research on surgery in the operating room.

She examines the medical world through surgical instruments and the workflow inside the operating room. Mentis hones in on minimally invasive surgery and the reliance toward images.  She is particularly interested in how medical professionals see and share visual information in a collaborative fashion, which has grown over the past several years. She asks, “What happens if surgeons were given greater control over the image? What would happen to the workflow? Would it change anything?”

In one study at Thomas Hospital in London, surgeons were using a lot of pointing gestures to direct the operation. Confusion would arise and the surgeon would need to repeat his exact intention with others. This break in the workflow inspired Mentis’ team to ask: what if we were to build a touchless illustration system that responded to the surgeon’s gestures? Her team set out to build what she calls “telestration,” which enables surgeons to use gestures to illustrate their intentions through an interactive display.

During another operation, the surgeon encountered a soft bone and had to stop the procedure. As a result, the surgeon had take off their gloves to re-examine the tissue on the visual display. Mentis notes, “There is a tight coupling between images on display and feeling with the instrument in hand.” If the image on display could be more closely integrated with the workflow, would this save time in the operating room?After publishing her findings, people raved over how voice narration rather than gesture aided imaging and collaboration in surgery. Consequently Mentis asked, “If given the opportunity would doctors use voice or gesture?” The ensuing observations revealed that while doctors stated their preference for voice, gesture was more frequently used for shaping telestration images. While voice narration and gestures provided greater interaction with the image, surgeons actually spent more time in surgery. Mentis reasons, “There is more opportunity for collaborative discussion with the information.” Interestingly, this did add time to the overall operation, but it also yielded greater opportunities to uncover and discuss critical information.

About Helena Mentis, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Information Systems
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Helena Mentis, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Information Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her research contributes to the areas of human-computer interaction (HCI), computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), and health informatics. She investigates how new interactive sensors can be integrated into the operating room to support medical collaboration and care. Before UMBC, she was a research fellow at Harvard Medical School, held a joint postdoctoral fellowship at Microsoft Research Cambridge and the University of Cambridge, and was an ERCIM postdoctoral scholar at Mobile Life in Sweden. She received her Ph.D. in Information Sciences and Technology from Pennsylvania State University.

Read Next

UCSD Giving Day

Giving Day Begins Now. Support the Design Lab Today

Through the integration of education, research and community development, The Design Lab is committed to advancing the best practices needed to solve the world's complex problems through the lens of human-centered design.  One way we do this is through our thriving Design@Large speaker series.  Via conversations with distinguished academic, industry, and community design leaders, Design@Large showcases the ever-evolving, interdisciplinary nature of design as applied in real world contexts.  Today we are asking for your specific help to continue to build and grow this popular series which is open to all.
Daniel Suh Designer-in-residence

Meet Designer-in-Residence & Data Analyst Daniel Suh

Daniel Suh has always been passionate about creating partnerships to uplift others. While he was an undergraduate at UC San Diego’s Thurgood Marshall College, he founded one of the university’s first student consulting organizations, Cornerstone Community Consultants, which provides pro-bono opportunities for students to empower the local community. Suh also established UCSD’s first chapter of International Justice Mission, a student-led organization that centers around human rights, anti-human trafficking, and law enforcement. "Growing up in an underprivileged community, I've discovered a passion for social justice and contributing to causes larger than myself," Suh says.
Ucsd Design Lab Mikael Walhström

Designer in Residence & Social Psychologist Mikael Wahlström Leads Projects to Explore Autonomous Ships

The Design Lab welcomed Mikael Wahlström as a Designer in Residence this past fall. Wahlström…

Philip Guo

Philip Guo on Storytelling in Design | Design Chats

Philip Guo, Design Lab member and Associate Professor in Cognitive Science at UC San Diego, speaks on the importance of capturing stories during the design process.

Design Chats is a video series where we sit down with design practitioners to answer questions about how they utilize human-centered design.

View our Design Chats playlist on the Design Lab YouTube Channel
Uc San Diego Design Lab Viasat

Viasat Invests in UC San Diego’s Design Lab

Viasat gift helps researchers provide guidance to engineering organizations on ways to implement a ‘design…

Don Norman

Design a Better World, with Don Norman

UX Cake kicks the season off with a fascinating conversation about changing the world with design, with Don Norman.

"There are really creative people in all these communities. And there aren’t enough experts to go around anyway. What we want to do is go around the world and find these people and facilitate, help them, empower them, give them expert knowledge and allow them to decide how to apply that to their problems." - Don Norman
Back To Top