- HaptX and FundamentalVR team up for realistic VR surgery simulations
For several years now, the the surgical sector is closely interested in virtual reality. For good reason, VR simulations could potentially improve the quality of training, make surgeons more competent and reduce the costs of interventions.
Several remote operations carried out using virtual reality have already taken place, and many startups are developing projects combining VR and surgery. This is particularly the case with Vicarious Surgical, which has designed robots that can be controlled remotely via a VR headset.
Today is the turn of FundamentalVR and HaptX to unveil the fruit of their partnership as part of the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) Natural Gathering. Before unveiling their joint project for VR surgery, it is important to present these two companies.
Well known in the VR industry, HaptX develops haptic gloves for virtual reality. These accessories allow to use their hands in virtual reality in a natural way, and to feel the texture and resistance of virtual objects.
These gloves use microfludic technology, with 130 touch actuators that squeeze the user's skin to replicate the sensation of touching a physical object. A force feedback exoskeleton applies up to 1,8 kilograms of force per finger. This increases the perception of form and rigidity.
In addition, a motion capture technology tracks users' hand movements with an accuracy of less than a millimeter. A few days ago, Nissan unveiled how it designs the vehicles of the future using these haptic gloves.
For its part, FundamentalVR launched its platform in August 2018. Awarded as one of the best inventions of 2018 by Time, this platform combines virtual reality and haptic feedback technology for allow surgeons and airplane pilots to train under realistic conditions. The visuals, sounds and sensations are the same as what they will encounter during a real world operation.
HaptX and FundamentalVR team up for realistic VR surgery simulations
One of the main elements of the Fundamental Surgery system is the SHIETM (Surgical Haptic Intelligence Engine). This motor is calibrated to mimic the sensations of different medical instruments on tissue variants with pin-point precision resistance.
However, Fundamental Surgery also stands out for its compatibility with any laptop, VR headset or haptic feedback device. To prove it, FundamentalVR demonstrated its platform with Haptx Gloves with haptic feedback combined with a 3DS Haptic arm.
Thus, surgeons are able to use the HaptX Gloves to train to operate by receiving realistic sensations of contact and force feedback in their hands and fingers. During the demonstration, a hip operation simulation made it possible to feel the presence of the bones around the hip or to identify the ligament that allows surgeons to orient themselves during this intervention.
As FundamentalVR CEO Richard Vincent explains, this platform will allow replace stationary equipment. Until now, this hardware costing several hundred thousand dollars has been used for training simulations.
In addition, haptic feedback also helps build muscle memory to allow surgeons to learn more effectively. In fact, it is fFundamental Surgery is likely to gain popularity as the virtual reality industry grows and new and more advanced haptic devices emerge ...
Currently, Fundamental Surgery is already deployed in several medical institutions : the Mayo Clinic and the University of California at Los Angeles, UCLH in the United Kingdom, or Sana in Germany. Several simulations of different operations are offered, but more content will be offered over time.