A journey inside the heart
Fused silica doesn’t just make data fast. In a sense, it also plays a part in making data very small. Fused silica optics make it possible to produce increasingly smaller microchips, which pack a high level of processing power into a very tiny space. And in the future, that will save lives. Take the heart, for example, the muscle that contracts roughly 2.6 billion times in 70 years. In the future, heart surgery will be performed with the help of augmented reality more and more frequently. A tiny camera is fed into the patient’s heart when surgery begins. This camera then transmits 3D images for viewing by the operating team. The images are displayed on large monitors and guide the surgeon during the minimally invasive operation, which is performed via a single small incision. The Ulm University Medical Center is already using this technology. But in the future, the screens—and the strain of looking up from the patient on the operating table to see the images displayed on them—will no longer be necessary. That’s because tiny, incredibly powerful microchips will allow the images of the heart to be transmitted directly to augmented reality glasses that the surgeon puts on when the operation begins. These glasses will allow the surgeon to simultaneously see both the patient on the operating table and the inside of the body through the skin, thanks to the images the camera relays during the procedure. Surgery will become faster, safer, more precise, and more effective. The revolution in the operating room has begun.