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Today computers are part of the standard equipment of modern surgery rooms. They assist surgeons in performing complex procedures that would not be possible otherwise. However, despite the availability of more powerful and complex computer systems, their user interfaces have not been adapted to fully leverage their potential. A new type of software, behaving as an independent intelligent assistant, is needed to better assist surgeons and their staff. Building an intelligent assistant is a difficult task that requires expertise in many fields ranging from artificial intelligence to core software and hardware engineering. We believe that providing a unified tool and methodology to create intelligent software will bring many benefits to this area of research. Our solution, the Active framework, introduces the original concept of Active Ontologies to model and implement intelligent applications. Based on suggestions and constant evaluations from surgeons, an Active based assistant for endoscopic neurosurgery is under development. Using natural modalities such as speech recognition and hand gestures, it enables surgeons to interact with computer based equipments of the operating room as if they were full active members of the team. In a broader context, Active aims to ease the development of intelligent software by making required technologies more accessible. It will help foster research innovation, easier development cycle and deployment of this new type of applications.