Surgery simulator to integrate "Haptic Master" feedback interface for CAVE testing

Amsterdam 15 May 2000Since early 1997, a Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) has been installed at the Academic Computing Services Amsterdam (SARA). Fokker Control Systems has now developed a haptic feedback interface to be implemented in the CAVE at SARA. The device is integrated into the CAVE for a project which has been launched in collaboration with the University of Groningen to build a surgery simulator. This simulator will be designed very specifically for the intubation of patients to control the breathing function during the period of anaesthesia in surgical interventions.

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The act of intubation consists of introducing a tube through the nose, allowing the patient to breathe during the operation while being under narcosis. This is only done in those cases where it is impossible to insert a tube via the patient's throat. Here, one should consider for instance people who have to be submitted to maxillo-facial or laryngologic surgery or patients with severe trauma for whom no better alternative exists.

The project will comprise three different elements, which are a simulation, a visualisation, and a haptic feedback component. The novel advanced haptic feedback interface has been designed by Fokker Control Systems and will be commercialised and brought to market as the "Haptic Master". For this purpose, SARA has built the first application that can be integrated with this "Haptic Master". The device will enable physicians to virtually sense surfaces, as well as tissue density in a computed tomography (CT) scan for example.

This new application allows the Academic Computing Services Amsterdam to demonstrate that SARA is at the forefront of innovative development in the domain of Virtual Reality and VR implementation in medical visualisation. The first version of the pioneering haptic feedback application has already been showcased at the recent ITEC 2000 conference in The Hague.


Leslie Versweyveld

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