Haptic technology is probably finding more use in medicine than in any other industry,
most famously found in the Da Vinci robotic surgical system. (Our mistake, Da Vinci is not a haptic device –ed.) Medic Vision Ltd., a Melbourne, Australia company that builds surgical simulators, is now using the popular PHANTOM force feedback device from SensAble in its new surgical drilling simulator, providing realistic feeling while reducing the need for smelly cadavers to train on.
The Mediseus® Surgical Drilling Simulator is the world’s first commercially available solution for temporal bone drilling to rely on the same viewing and operating technology as surgeons use during actual procedures: a simulated stereoscopic 3D microscope, and a sense of touch. Instead of holding a computer mouse, trainees hold a PHANTOM® haptic device from SensAble, which provides force feedback — pushing back on the user’s hand — as they perform the surgical procedure. Medic Vision engineers also used SensAble’s Open Haptics® toolkit to render haptic data so that the PHANTOM devices provide the synchronous "feeling" of the procedure in time with the on-screen graphics updates, as well as audio cues.
The Mediseus® Surgical Drilling Simulator allows ENT surgical residents to train on the entire cortical mastoidectomy curriculum, learning the procedure from start to finish, obtaining unlimited practice, and refining their knowledge through heavily catalogued advice and events. A telelearning capability also allows remote, haptically-enabled, surgeon-guided training. For example, a surgeon using a Mediseus® simulator in Australia can train a resident on a Mediseus® in Sweden — guiding the trainee through the procedure haptically, so that the trainee "feels" the surgeon’s correct drilling procedure.
"By using SensAble’s high fidelity haptic technology, our Mediseus® simulator can distinguish between the feeling of different parts of the temporal bone drilling procedure – from the lightweight feeling of the cutting/polishing burrs, to the slightly different feeling of irrigators and other instruments used during the procedure," said Ross Horley, CEO of Medic Vision, Ltd. "Surgical residents can experience what actually takes place in the operating room, including the sights, sounds and the feeling of the procedure, in a safe and controlled environment until they achieve mastery."