Steven Schwaitzberg, MD, chief of surgery at the Cambridge Health Alliance at the Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital, is on the hunt for technology to allow for video conferencing and real-time translation in a wide range of languages. As he discusses in this recently posted TEDxBeaconStreet talk, he plans to use the universal translator to teach surgeons around the world to perform laparoscopic surgery.
Despite all the existing translation software currently on the market, finding a communications system that's good enough to teach surgery has proven difficult. So Schwaitzberg is working with IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center to string together technologies to work towards building a universal translator for surgery. He demos the prototype in the above video and explains how, in addition to training surgeons in other countries to perform minimally invasive procedures, it could create a dialogue and help physicians in the United States understand how to reduce health costs while improving outcomes. It's worth watching.