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AR in the operating room


Hong Kong start-up specialising in AR surgical assistance software enhances surgical precision.


The application of augmented reality (AR) is becoming increasingly widespread. Commonly used in games and education in the early years, it has expanded to the medical field.

Doctors used to review patients’ medical images repeatedly before the operation or project the images on screen as a reminder in the operation room. In the past, hospitals also used 3D digital and printed models to visually enhance pathological features, but manual production of 3D models is technically demanding and usually takes several days, making it difficult to be put in wide use.

To address this pain point, spatial computing tech start-up Syngular Technology uses Al algorithms to generate 3D holograms from raw data in 2D medical images, such as computer tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

With AR glasses, doctors can determine patients’ tissues and pathological features more easily and accurately during surgery and remote collaboration. It can be applied to orthopedics, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, among others.

Louis Sze, CEO of Syngular, emphasised their product is easy to use. Doctors will be able to control the user interface with hand gestures and eye movements. They can also upload reference files and raw scan data to the software for easy viewing. He added, “The product is currently being optimised. We hope to launch an updated version this year and introduce it in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and Southeast Asia markets.”

Syngular has launched pilots in the Hospital Authority’s Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology and one of Hong Kong’s medical schools. The system supports clinical teaching, enabling students to observe various surgeries and treatment methods via livestreaming. “Space is limited in treatment and operating rooms, making it inconvenient for students to observe on-site. Therefore, we came up with the idea of livestreaming using headsets.”

The start-up is currently collecting doctors’ feedback from the two pilots and evaluating clinical results to develop the product’s next version. The next step will be launching products, which track the positioning of surgical instruments, allowing surgeons to overlay 3D images of the patient’s anatomy and their surgical instruments onto the surgeon’s field of view. They will improve surgeons’ accuracy and reduce the length of time of operations.

To gather more funds for product development and application, Syngular participated in last year’s Start-up Express, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s entrepreneurship development programme, becoming one of the ten winning start-ups.

Mr Sze pointed out that HKTDC provides a lot of support to start-ups including promotional and publicity. He previously joined a visit to the GBA organised by the HKTDC, which led him to first target the GBA and Singapore markets. The product will later be sold to the North China or the Japan market.

As an Asia Summit on Global Health 2024 exhibitor, Mr Sze connected with potential investors and business partners in healthcare and introduce their AR tech to industry players from around the world.

ASGH is the Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s leading healthcare platform, bringing together leading industry figures to Hong Kong to engage in forward-looking conversation and facilitate cross-sector collaboration.

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