System for Telementoring with Augmented Reality Project

The System for Telementoring with Augmented Reality (STAR) project is a multi-institution project sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. Link to STAR project website.


The primary objective of this project is to research, develop, and validate an augmented reality system that would improve the effectiveness of telementoring between surgeons. Telementoring involves procedural guidance of a trainee surgeon by an expert surgeon from afar using telecommunication.


The STAR project is an innovative platform that relies on table and touchscreen displays, transparent screens, tablets, and color and depth sensors to increase the quality of the communication between mentor and trainee.


Institutions involved:

  • Purdue University, School of Industrial Engineering
  • Purdue University, School of Computer Science
  • Indiana University, School of Medicine


Ipad Surgery

With STAR, we want to increase the mentor and trainee sense of co-presence through an augmented visual channel that will lead to measurable improvements in the trainee’s surgical performance.


Our project has four specific aims. First, we will research, develop, and assess a transparent-display augmented-reality system that allows the seamless augmentation of a trainee surgeon’s natural view of the surgical field with annotations and illustrations of the current and next steps of the surgical procedure. Second, we will research, develop, and assess a patient-size interaction platform where the mentor can mark, annotate, and zoom in on anatomic regions using gestures performed over a projected image or on a multi-point touch screen. Third, we will validate and refine the proposed STAR platform in the context of practice cricothyroidotomy procedures on a human-patient simulator in a controlled environment. Fourth, we will validate the refined STAR platform in a simulated austere environment. The environment will match, for example, a military echelon Role 2 medical facility, consistent with a forward surgical team with limited resources. A hemorrhage-control procedure will be done within a damage-control laparotomy on a porcine model.


The STAR project has a military significance. There are three more areas where our proposed system has the potential to improve quantitative and qualitative outcomes in the military healthcare setting. First, telementoring can avoid or diminish the loss of surgical skills through retraining and competence. Second, it will be useful to provide instructional material in a simulation form, to support doctors serving in Iraq and Afghanistan in traumatic care in the battlefield, in a portable and dynamic style. Finally it will allow recent combat medic graduates to reinforce surgical techniques that were not conceptualized during their training curricula.