The physicians on Grey’s Anatomy are all actors, of course, but the space-age medical imaging technology recently featured on an episode of the popular ABC medical drama is for real.
Viewers of the show saw how RealView Imaging, based in the small Israeli northern city of Yokneam, is making it possible for surgeons to use three-dimensional holography in planning the steps of delicate, complex procedures.
The unique display and interface system projects hyper-realistic, dynamic 3D holographic images “floating in the air” without the need for special eyeglasses or even a conventional 2D screen.
The projected 3D volumes appear in free space, allowing the doctor to literally touch and interact precisely within the image — a breakthrough giving surgeons an unprecedented opportunity for guidance before taking a knife to the patient.
In the episode, Dr. Cristina Yang (played by Sandra Oh) comes across this Israeli cutting-edge technology when she is visiting a wealthy Swiss hospital.
Her former love interest and fellow heart surgeon, Dr. Preston Burke (Isaiah Washington), explains that the holographic reproduction of a beating heart – enhanced with digital the data from X-ray, MRI or ultrasound imaging — can be manipulated and even sliced open virtually,
In real life, the RealView system was successfully tested at Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petach Tikva in a trial together with Royal Philips’ interventional X-ray and cardiac ultrasound systems. The technology is meant to improve outcomes for all sorts of surgical procedures.
The Grey’s Anatomy shout-out isn’t the first time Israeli med tech from Yokneam has been featured on TV. In 2010, Argo Medical’s ReWalk exoskeleton helped a wheelchair-bound character on Glee to walk for the first time.