Surgery can be a rather bloody business. If excess blood is occluding a surgeon's view of a target area often a sponge will be used to soak it up. It can be important for the doctors to know how much blood was removed from the body in this way so that they predict correct doses for drugs and anesthesia. However, in the past there has not been a quick or effective means of measuring blood loss in surgery.
Gauss Surgical has just developed an interesting app calculate the amount of blood that was absorbed into a sponge. All you have to do is hold the sponge up in front of an iPad and take a photo. This achievement marks another breakthrough in computer vision technology.
It is interesting that most of the time it is much harder to detect something through computer vision than with human vision. Certain motion detection algorithms, for example, require thousands of lines of code. Humans detect motion effortlessly. However, in cases like this one computers are able to 'see' things that we would never be able to with our visual system.
Gauss Surgical (Los Altos, CA) just received FDA approval for its Triton Fluid Management System, an iPad app that estimates, via a proprietary algorithm, blood loss in surgical sponges just by looking at them.