NEW HAVEN — Holograms are coming to the operating room.
Dr. David Pearlstone, a surgeon, who “stumbled into the entrepreneur eco-system” at the District technology park 18 months ago, hopes to be on his way to offering three-dimensional imaging for surgeons in the not-too-distant future.
He is CEO of a new startup, Dicom Director, a spinoff of Ted Dinsmore’s SphereGen, two of the 113 companies at the Districtthat who have filled the offices and co-working spaces at the cutting edge center.
A full-time surgeon for most of his career, specializing in liver oncology, Pearlstone predicted that these “augumented reality devices” will be in every hospital.
“If you know any type of interventional procedure in medicine, having the ability to visualize three dimensionally is a fundamental change on ... the way you approach a problem,” Pearlstone said.
Pearlstone said if you take a CT scan or an MRI and make a hologram you can use it in a variety of ways.
Pearlstone and Dinsmore were among the companies talking with Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz Monday at the District about how the state can continue to help augment their start-up businesses and technological advances.
These two partners predicted that the device can help plan the surgery, explain it through a 3D picture to the patient and guide the surgical procedure itself.
“I have worked in a lot of places in my life, but this is the first time I am excited to come to work every day,” Pearlstone said of his new endeavor.
Dinsmore’s SphereGen has a dozen workers at the District out of 60 workers around the world, where they “take game development and combine it with medical software.”
In recent years, Pearlstone went to business school, got into administration and was director of a startup incubator when Dinsmore pitched his ideas about virtual reality in medicine.
“I was so blown away. I had never seen anything like it. It was literally what I had fantasized about,” he said. “Ted had figured out virtual reality in medicine was going to be a smart move.”
Two weeks later he quit his job and became CEO of Dicom Director, which had been incorporated a year before that. They now are working with multiple other potential partners, Yale University and Dartmouth College among them.
“We have a lot of irons in the fire. ... This is long-term technology,” Pearlstone said.
He said every surgeon is frustrated by outdated technology. He wondered why he would go home where his children were using virtual reality headgear more advanced than he had.
Dinsmore said there are some 10 companies in the world in this field.
“This is an industry in its early infancy,” he said. “We have stepped an inch over the starting line,” Pearlstone added.
It is being used in operating rooms in China, but not yet in the U.S. because of the regulatory process here geared to safety.
Pearlstone said the U.S. is always behind in medical technology, but in the end it becomes the leader because once it is sanctioned here, it is a signal to others to proceed.