Remote expertise through the power of merged reality

Access to this ground-breaking technology is included at no cost with your InterSurgeon clinician membership. Help Lightning allows experienced surgeons to guide and interactively assist others during operations in real-time, anywhere in the world.

Add Help Lightning to your account

What are the benefits of Help Lightning for surgeons?

In light of the pandemic, and for the foreseeable future, the conventional ways of establishing collaborative partnerships through physical visits are not going to be possible. However, because Help Lightning allows surgeons to collaborate remotely, partnerships can still develop – and more easily than ever before.

Help Lightning can be used as a tool for education, mentorship and instruction – as well as for intraoperative case management. It allows both surgical planning and real-time intraoperative advice.

How does it work?

Watch this video to learn how Help Lightning works. This shows use cases in other industries – it’s every bit as useful with surgical applications and can also be used hands-free. All you need to use Help Lightning is your smartphone and an internet connection, though it can also be used with tablets, desktop computers and smart surgical glasses. 

Download a beginner's guide to Help Lightning here: Help Lightning Basic Training

Virtual help in real-time

Help Lightning uses Merged Reality to blend two real-time video streams – e.g. that of a remote surgical expert and another surgeon that needs help – into a collaborative environment. This Merged Reality allows the expert to virtually reach out and direct real surgical procedures or training.

Use your existing devices

Help Lightning runs on your existing mobile devices (iOS, Android) or a web-browser on laptop and desktop computers.

Surgeons can now provide remote assistance as though they’re working side-by-side. They can telestrate, freeze images, use hand gestures, and even add real objects into the merged reality environment.

Be there instantly

Help Lightning is easy, fast and intuitive.

Once you’re in a merged reality call with a colleague or customer, simply tap the mode to change how you interact. Choose whether you’re giving or receiving help, and start collaborating in seconds. Help Lightning’s unique Merged Reality can add missing visual cues, gestures, and non-verbal communication methods to any session.

Using Help Lightning with smart surgical glasses

Take Help Lightning to the next level by pairing it with smart glasses. This innovation allows the wearer to benefit from the assistance of AI or a third-party while performing surgery. When used in conjunction with Help Lightning, smart glasses mean that another surgeon can see exactly what you are seeing and what you’re doing – and also have their hands superimposed over your field of view.

There are a number of models available from different manufacturers including Vuzix, Zebra, and RealWear.

The Advantage of Remote Expertise

Studies show that adding gestures and nonverbal clues substantially improves the speed of understanding. Furthermore, nonverbal cues are 430% more effective than verbal cues and nonverbal cues make Help Lightning’s combination of verbal and nonverbal communication up to 10 times more effective.

Sources: Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, British Journal of Clinical Psychology

Heidi McAlpine

Heidi McAlpine


Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia


Location information

Hospital address

Royal Melbourne Hospital 300 Grattan St Parkville Melbourne Victoria 3050 Australia

Hospital type


Hospital description

First-Level Hospital

This is a teaching hospital


Heidi is a neurosurgery trainee who completed her BSc(hons), MBBS and DipSurgAnat at the University of Melbourne. She plans to forge a career as a surgeon/scientist and is currently undertaking a PhD in the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. Heidi was awarded the Warren Haynes Fellowship from the Neuroscience Foundation and the Melbourne University Research Training Program Scholarship to undertake her research.
Heidi leads the Pangea Medical Student Program, which upskills local medical trainees in low-income countries in the fundamentals of patient care. Pangea are a team of volunteer health care, adult education and program management professionals who are dedicated to improving health outcomes on a global scale. We have been delivering health education in partnership with local communities on the African continent for over 10 years. Our vision is "to deliver the most effective health education in the world" and we continue to look for further opportunities and partnerships in health education.

Member information


Heidi McAlpine

Member type

Individual trainee




  • Include Neurosurgery members that have not selected a subspecialty

Languages spoken

  • English

Professional affiliations / memberships

  • AANS
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