Theatrical exhibition designed to explore AI surgery

Designed by The Liminal Space, In Theater aims to help people better understand how artificial intelligence and robotics can be used in surgeries.

The Liminal Space has designed the In Theater exhibition, which encourages people to consider how technology and AI can be used in a surgical environment.

Working with The Wellcome/EPSRC Center for Interventional and Surgical Sciences (WEISS), the studio set out to create a space showcasing futuristic innovations from researchers in engineering and clinical sciences at University College London (UCL). Liminal Space art director Laura Gordon says that often the themes of this investigation can seem “complex and abstract to many people”.

Most research papers use dense academic language, which Gordon says can “create a barrier to public understanding,” making people “feel uncomfortable and fearful about the safety and ethics of using of robotics and AI. To address this, the exhibition is intended to serve people of any age without scientific or medical training.

The space is divided into three different zones, each of which represents a different perspective of surgery.

The Hospital Zone

IV bags hanging by the door pose questions for visitors to consider before entering the main part of the exhibit. Designed to resemble the interior of a hospital, the first zone features a “medicalized corridor with medical curtains, screens and carts” that marks the beginning of the journey to the operating room, says Gordon.

Blue and green tones combined with strong, bright lighting add to the “clinical and clean” feel of the space, he adds, seeking to “ground visitors in reality” before moving on to the next area.

Approaching the second zone, visitors are faced with a narrow, narrow hallway, representing the awkward nature of surgery, with “organ-shaped holes cut into the curtains,” Gordon explains. He adds that these openings are “a reference to minimally invasive surgery” and offer small views of the body before “confronting them with the big picture.”

the body area

Mimicking the interior of the body, the “pink and red tones” appear in “lumpy, rounded 3D shapes to add texture and warmth,” says Gordon. Visitors are greeted by floating hands designed to resemble the arms of a da Vinci surgical system, already in use in the operating room. This facility is intended to draw attention to the fact that “robotic surgery enables surgeons around the world” to work from remote locations, Gordon adds.

Interactive elements appear in this section, with a ball pool that “invites visitors to play AI” and search for “abnormal cells,” he says. Each abnormal cell has information about the use of AI in surgery.

The “Bowel Buzz Wire” uses the concept of a children’s game to encourage visitors to check the strength of their hands. The aim of this installation is to show that humans can have unstable hands, something that robots do not suffer from, to make people “think about the benefits” of robotics in surgery.

In the background, sounds from inside the body, such as “breathing and heartbeats”, are played at a low volume on the speakers, which is a way of making the space “more immersive” and that the visitors are “more receptive” to the area, according to Gordon.

The machine area

The next zone covers similar topics, except they are explored through the lens of a machine. Black plastic covers the walls of this space, highlighted by “fluorescent green” lighting, which Gordon says adds to the “futuristic, machine-like aesthetic.”

“A neon green cross symbol recurs throughout the installation, which we discover through real footage of the AI ​​used in the theater to find polyps, its geometric shape contrasting sharply with the organic softness of the elements of the theater. human body to anchor visitors to the original narrative of AI and robotics in surgery,” he says.

The largest screen in the center of the wall space shows moving images exploring what future surgeries might look like with the help of AI. Gordon explains that he is meant to demonstrate how “having the robot there frees up the surgeon to have more extensive oversight.”

Back to reality

Providing a cyclical structure to the space, visitors leave the machine area and return to the hospital, but this time they find themselves in a recovery room area. The “relaxed, homey space” is meant to get to the point where AI surgeries could mean “facilitating better recovery at home,” says Gordon.

A diffuser releases “fresh scents” next to a lounge chair, which Gordon says visitors can sit in while listening to “audio taken from testimonials from real people about their experiences with robotic surgery, played on a transistor.”

Before leaving the exhibition, visitors can talk to UCL researchers “who have designed some of the technology explored in space” if they want to learn about the concepts in more detail, says Gordon. He adds that there is also the opportunity to write any comments on a note card that will be displayed in the window along with “medical objects, accessories and a glossary of different medical terms to debunk” so that people passing by can interact with the content. .

In Theater is open 12pm-6pm daily at 26-28 Brick Lane, London, E1 6RF from now until 6 November and admission is free.

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