HaptX Partners with FundamentalVR to Create Touch-Simulating VR Surgery Gloves
FundamentalVR has partnered with HaptX to create a virtual reality gesture tracking and touch-simulating gloves. These haptic-based surgical gloves will enable surgeons under training to use their fingers and hands in virtual reality simulations for surgical procedures.
The gloves leverage cutting-edge haptics and virtual reality technologies to immerse surgeons into a highly realistic flight simulator-like training scenario with lifelike simulations of complex surgical procedures. The haptic technology provides the trainees with a sense of touch and sensation that simulate the kind of sensations they are likely to experience during the actual surgical procedures. The haptic and VR technologies create a surgical simulation environment that closely mirror experiences surgeons are likely to encounter during the real medical procedures complete with the visuals, sounds as well as the sensations.
The Fundamental Surgery platform is fairly new having been launched in August of 2018 and it was billed as one of the best innovations of that year by Time Magazine. The platform and the HaptX gloves will be showcased for the first time during the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons annual general meeting in Las Vegas this week.
Virtual reality technology has been seeing more real world applications in the recent past. The simulations are revolutionizing procedures not just in industrial environments but also in the training of surgeons, leading to lower costs and a higher quality of training.
FundamentalVR is trying to bring forth a revolutionary immersive training technology for use in the medical community. The groundbreaking HaptX Gloves will be used with the Fundamental Surgery platform. The technology is quite impeccable and gives users a real sense of force feedback and contact when they touch a virtual object.
The product has been developed in recognition of the fact a sense of touch is very crucial to the surgical training simulations. It is therefore a game-changer in light of efficiency and affordability making it widely accessible for the medical community. Previously, such simulations have only been possible with immobile equipment and these are quite expensive, typically costing in the region of hundreds of thousands of dollars. With the Fundamental Surgery platform, surgical trainees can get access to a highly sophisticated tactile feedback system that comes at a fraction of the price of the immobile equipment and which is also available in the form of software and thus easily deployable across various training venues. The software approach of the Fundamental Surgery is compatible with a host of haptic devices. It’s currently compatible with haptic arms but the platform is designed in such a way that it will evolve to meet emerging hardware upgrades and innovations, making it possible for new haptic solutions to find their way into the market.
The main differentiating factor between Fundamental Surgery and other similar platforms is that it is equipment-agnostic and can therefore run on any hardware setup that satisfies the requirements be they haptic devices, virtual reality headsets or any laptops. During the annual general meeting, Fundamental Surgery did a demo of this technology using the HaptX Gloves and a 3DS Haptic arm.
The cutting edge Fundamental Surgery platform is powered by the unique Surgical Haptic Intelligence Engine, abbreviated as SHIETM. This unit has been calibrated to simulate the real life sensations produced by the medical tools and the tissue variants and it reproduces this within a submillimeter accuracy of resistance. The sensations are therefore highly realistic. The implementation of the platform with HAPtX is a further demonstration of its flexibility and versatility in incorporating both intelligence and haptic sensations into third party devices.
The HaptX Gloves work based on a microfluid technology and 130 tactile actuators which press at the user’s skin thereby simulating the sensation of touching an actual physical object. There is a force feedback exoskeleton which will apply a force of up to 4 pounds per finger and this brings out the perception of both shape and rigidity. There is also a motion capture technology which will track the hand movements of the user with a high degree of precision.
According to Fundamental Surgery, this cluster of powerful force, realistic touch and precise motion tracking provides the most realistic haptic feedback available in the world today. During the demonstration of the platform, the integration of FundamentalVR and HaptX enabled the surgeons under training to use their hands in a very natural way within the virtual environment. The surgeons were able to realize detailed interactions with the patients in an Anterior Total Hip Arthroplasty simulation. The surgeons were also able to get a real sensation of the presence of bony growth in the rim area of the hip pocket of the (virtual) patient and also accurately identify key ligaments that provided the surgeons with the orientation during the surgical simulation.
Training with a realistic tactile feedback does not just give trainees great simulation and enhance the quality of the education but it also helps the trainees in developing muscle memory and practical skills that are required for effective learning. When educational content and the value of real time skills and knowledge assessment are added to the experience, trainees can look forward to an invaluable training tool that will deliver effective training and skill acquisition.
The Fundamental Surgery platform has already been deployed in multiple medical institutions including Sana in Germany, Mayo Clinic in the US and the UCLH in the UK. The main focus of the initial training packages has been on orthopedic surgical disciplines. The surgical simulations support procedures such as Total Knee Arthroplasty, Spinal Pedicle Screw, Total Hip Arthroplasty (Anterior) and Total Hip Arthroplasty (Posterior).