Innovation & Patents in the Ocular Ultrasound Simulation Arena
My recent keynote address to The Gathering of Healthcare Simulation Technology Specialists (SimGHOSTS) offered additional opportunities for me to review some breakthrough inventions in this arena, including a patent-pending on an Ultrasound Training Simulator (OTS) capable of producing realistic and anatomically true images of live tissue in the eye.
Falling under a branch of medicine termed ocular ultrasound, it received high praise from SimGhosts for the inventors’ approach to utilizing 3D models for teaching ultrasound technicians’ ocular (eye) angles, pressure, rotation, and other motor skills using an experiential approach.
This innovative patented ocular ultrasound technology is yet again another example of the multiplier effect created by the USPTO’s monumental decision to allow medical inventors to file for a patent prior to having a workable prototype. This change, which occurred in 2013, has opened the floodgate for a bevy of small, independent inventors to craft breakthrough ideas bulletproofed with intellectual property protection. It’s a much smoother, easier patent application framework than it was several years ago leading to a new era I refer to as “The Golden Age of Inventing.”
These were the hot button issues that I discussed in my keynote address to a room filled with medical entrepreneurs who wanted to understand how to launch and protect their healthcare ideas in the 21st Century. You can read more about these issues on a recent blog post on my primary patent attorney website for inventors.
The use of medical simulation, including augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), are truly driving innovation in ultrasound sector. Computerized medical procedure training simulators give physicians and trainees an ‘edge’ in successful patient outcomes by giving them experiential training prior to entering the operation room.
Increasingly, these advances are being based on VR and AR, allowing scenario training for surgeons, physicians, and interns. While countless patents are currently pending in the USPTO database, they broadly describe systems which compute and display a visual VR/AR model of anatomical structures in accordance with physician gestures and actions to, among other things, visual feedback.
They usually allow physicians to select various patient models with different pathologies. One patent described how “natural variations as encountered over the years by practicing doctors can be simulated for a user over a compressed period of time for training purposes.”
What’s more, anyone of these medical simulations can usually be recorded and rehearsed for evaluation purposes as well as providing statistical data for insights and patient health projections.
I hope the above shows some creative ways medical professionals can begin conceptualizing new ways to redefine patient health by offering an immersive training environment prior to any surgery or procedures being performed on the individual. If you would like to attend one of my upcoming events for medical inventors, please sign up on The Patent Professor®!