Navigation in three-dimensional space in a virtual world has been proven to be very hard for human beings. This combined with the factors associated with computer-assisted neurosurgery such as the size of the electrodes on the screen, size of the instrument tip on the screen, distance of the screen from the surgeon, lighting conditions as well as limitations regarding movement around the patient and so on, make the process of navigating to the electrode locations during neurosurgery an extremely challenging task.
Surgeons currently use a computer-assisted system that shows a single 3D visualization that shows the structural as well as electrode data on the screen. We provide a multi viewport-based solution, which has been widely used in the human-computer interaction community, to allow surgeons to navigate more accurately and confidently to the electrodes. The multiple viewports provide additional spatial cues and help accurate navigation to the electrode locations. We conducted a user evaluation comparing the currently use 3D visualization with our multi-viewport based solution to identify the benefits of using multiple viewports based visualization for navigating to electrode locations. Based on the results of the user evaluation, we found that subjects were more accurate and more confident at navigating to the electrodes when using the multi-viewport based solution. Additionally, we found that when the electrodes were located in the frontal or occipital lobe of the brain, subjects were more accurate using our system as compared to a single 3D visualization system. Subjects took longer to complete the tasks using the multi-viewport based system but the neurosurgeons as well as the technicians who evaluated our system agreed that they would rather be more accurate even if it took them longer to localize electrodes.