Large Image Display:Chrysalis (2007): Extracting the Target Organ


Chrysalis is a very dark French film. It aired in 2007, (one of three films with the same name to air that year) and is entirely French speaking. An English dub is available, but hammy.

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.

Here is where things get really interesting. As was discussed in the previous image, this telesurgical table is using a combination of a haptic dataglove, an air projection system slightly more advanced than modern ones in that it is three dimensional, and camera trackers to record the absolute position of the surgeons hands in space, and the relative positions of each joint, most likely down to the nearest fraction of a millimetre.

However, what was not touched on until now, was one of the predominant reasons for using such an interface, especially one as complex as to include a complete workup of the body, including every major organ and the complete cardiovascular system. Chances are in fact if its using either DICOM or PACS based medical data – modern standards for interoperability of medical data between systems – then any data collected by any scanning device in the hospital the patient is in, could be placed here at a moment's notice.

This kind of knowledge of the inner workings of the patient's body – which could quite realistically be being collected in real-time – is something almost unprecedented for surgeons. It is just beginning to come in in fact, for the most modern of surgical suites, to overlay an augmented reality display onto the surgeon's vision to show where the major arteries are as they cut.

This system is then just a logical extension of current trends, mandated slightly by the lack of physical presence of the patient.

However, it does allow interface methods impossible with a physical patient. It is clearly gesture controlled, as the image shows. That is to say along with her hands controlling the surgical implements, the system is also programmed to respond differently to specific gestures, and movements of the hand.

In this instance, she reached inside the child's body and pulled out the heart. Or rather as shown, she wrapped her fingers round it without touching and it followed her hand out of the body. This has not happened to the physical patient of course. Rather it is an interface adaptation to tell the system she wishes to focus on the heart.

Back with the patient in the remote hospital, whatever scanning equipment is around them, is now focussed almost exclusively on the heart, allowing it to be seen with greater precision. To show this, the film enlarges the heart on the surgeon's worktable, allowing her to see it at many times its normal size. Again, gesture control determines the extent of this magnification and again this is technology we already have, simply put to a new use.


Image 3 of 4 on Chrysalis' views on telesurgery.

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Main Article on Chrysalis

Finding the right Gestures for an Interface

VR Interfaces: QB1: Gesture Only PC

Dictionary: Telesurgery

Dictionary: Telesurgical Unit