Fighter Pilots Invented a Revolutionary Way for Surgeons to Peer Inside People’s Skulls
Fighter pilots and brain surgeons have a lot in common.
With limited time and a high degree of risk, they must zero in on a dangerous target with the intent to destroy, making sure to minimize any collateral damage.
Perhaps no one understands that relationship better than Alon Geri and Moty Avisar, veterans of the Israeli Air Force and co-founders of Surgical Theater, an Ohio-based company that brings state-of-the-art virtual reality to brain surgeons.
Physicians in thick black goggles can step inside a patient’s skull, explore the malformed region, craft a strategy for entry, elimination, and exit, and even do dry runs of the surgery itself. When it comes time to make the first incision, there are fewer surprises.
The technology, which Surgical Theater calls SNAP (Surgical Navigation Advanced Platform) uses existing MRI scans to create 3D models, which are compatible with virtual reality. Geri and Avisar, both engineers, developed SNAP after working extensively on flight simulation. They realized in the early 2000s that the problems facing brain surgeons were nearly identical to those of their fellow pilots.