How did doctors save a baby’s life with a cardboard box and a smartphone. When Teegan Lexcen of Minnesota was born, the little girl had only one lung and half a heart. Doctors weren’t sure how to operate on her, therefore, told her parents to prepare for the worst. Just when it seemed like all hope was lost, another team of doctors in Florida came up with an ingenious idea that let them carefully plan a successful surgery.
Not only that, the method was quite cost-effective! The doctors used Google Cardboard, which is a $20 gadget that turns a smartphone into a set of virtual reality goggles, to virtually look at a set of images and best discern how to operate on little Teegan. Reports CBS, physicians at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami loaded images from MRI scans into an app called Sketchfab and put on the Google Cardboard goggles.
With the smart device, they were able to turn their heads and virtually move around inside the images. This allowed them to see the heart from all angles, and devise a strategy to repair the damage.
This isn’t the first time the doctors, led by Dr. Redmond Burke, were forced to get creative to save lives. In the past, he and his team used 3D printed models to plan previously-perilous heart surgeries. This time, however, their printer was broken and time was running out.
That’s how the idea of using Google Cardboard was conjured, and it actually turned out to be a better method than the 3D printing. Said Cassidy Lexcen, Teegan’s mother: “It was mind-blowing to see this little cardboard box and a phone, and to think this is what saved our daughter’s life.”
The Google Cardboard box allowed the doctors to see more than just Teegan’s heart, which enabled them to develop a completely new surgical technique tailored to the little girl. Incredibly, the cardiovascular surgeon was able to make less invasive incisions and ran into no surprises that could lead to extra complications, reports GoodNewsNetwork.