Large Image Display:Chrysalis (2007): Preparation for Telesurgery


Chrysalis is a very dark French film. It aired in 2007, (one of three films with the same name to air that year). An English dubbed version is available, but the English actors deliberate hammy acting destroys much of the atmosphere.

It is a mix between cyberpunk and film noire, and is a rich breeding ground to visual examples of potentials for VR, along with the social and legal effects of such.


This single still taken from this film has been considerably scaled back from the original material.

It depicts one of the film's main characters, a Professeur Brugen, as we see her perform a surgical operation, living up to the title the film gives her as 'a world-renowned telesurgeon'.

Telesurgery is something that is only just in its infancy, with devices such as the Da vinci system. It operates on the principle that the surgeon can be in one location whilst the patient is in another. The surgeon operates an interface machine that translates their hand and eye movements into controls for robotic manipulators and cameras that are actually inside the patient.

Da Vinci allows the surgeon to be across the room from the patient, manipulating laproscopic surgery tools deep inside them, with no requirement to cut the patient open beyond a single hole the size of a coin. This, is something altogether different.

A full-blown telesurgery system would allow the surgeon to be on another continent to the patient, and still operate successfully. Either an augmented reality interface or a virtual reality interface allowing the surgeon to see inside the patient's body in a way vastly superior to operating on the patient in person.

On top of that, there would no-longer any necessity for world renowned surgeons to fly around the world to deal with most cases; a telesurgical equipped hospital would mean that operations could be performed without them ever leaving their home town. Further, it would mean that a far greater number of other surgeons could observe and learn first hand of the expert's approach.

After all, the surgery is mediating through a computer system. There's no reason to suggest that every flick of the wrist, every movement of the fingers could not be recorded, to be replicated later as a teaching aide.

As with most VR-enablement applications, the possibilities are literally limitless.

This particular example, whilst fictitious, serves well in this regard; it explores the possibilities and considers in a very visual and stylistic way, just what sort of thing could be done.

The following images in this series examine different aspects of the telesurgical process – as Chrysalis envisages it; as the film examines the possibilities, and tries to stay consistent with reality – although not always succeeding.


Image 1 of 4 on Chrysalis' views on telesurgery.

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Main Article on Chrysalis

The DaVinci surgical system

Dictionary: Telesurgery

Dictionary: Telesurgical Unit