Mentice to integrate SimSurgery's simulation algorithms into Procedicus MIST training platform

Oslo 18 March 2002Mentice Corporation and SimSurgery AS have reached an agreement for a far reaching partnership in the area of surgical simulation. The collaboration will range from joint technical development to marketing and distribution of products, based on the global network of partners and customers that Mentice has in place. SimSurgery was established in September 1999 by the National Hospital of Norway and Mobile Media to develop core modelling technologies and products with focus on medical applications.

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The first step of the collaboration will be a project to integrate proprietary algorithms developed by SimSurgery in the area of laparoscopic suturing into the Procedicus MIST platform. The project to develop a new Procedicus MIST module for suturing training has been initiated. The finalised product will be available by the 4th quarter of 2002. It will address acquiring and learning the skills for laparoscopic suturing for surgical residents.

At the 8th World Congress of Endoscopic Surgery, hosted March 13-16, 2002 by the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons in New York, Mentice Corporation already demonstrated the Basic Suturing module from SimSurgery, integrated with their Procedicus MIST platform. The SimSurgery Basic Robotic Simulator was demonstrated in the learning centre of the congress, integrated with the Zeus robot from Computer Motion.

"Simulating laparoscopic suturing is a challenging task and Mentice has been evaluating many different approaches. The SimSurgery algorithms provide the most realistic behaviour for this demanding task that we have seen. Thus it is logic for the two companies to collaborate", commented Jonas Ohlsson, President of Mentice AB. "The digital suture is one important component in our unique soft tissue real time platform, Sim3DM, developed especially for surgical simulation", added Jan Sigurd Røtnes, CEO of SimSurgery.

Other components of the SimSurgery platform are SimCor, a prototype simulator for robotic assisted endoscopic Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) with a focus on coronary anastomosis, and SimPlanner for the planning of the robotic system set-up. SimCor employs flexible objects, i.e. geometry-based models that enable smooth surfaces with realistic appearance and highly accurate anatomical models. Allowing interactivity between suture, simulated objects, and surgical instruments, SimCor is providing a realistic surgical experience. Students may try out cutting in virtual organs and the making of knots with the suture. The whole time, the suture maintains a realistic appearance and behaviour.

SimMentor provides the paedagogical content for the three simulation components and in the SimDesigner, 3D models and scenes are created for the simulators. In fact, SimMentor constitutes a platform where one single and common 3D model, the "simulation engine", is being applied in various modes for the construction, visualisation, performance, and evaluation of simulation tasks. This allows a seamless transition between the modes and has the advantage that a quantitative analysis of the training results is readily derived from the difference between the student's performance and the parameters which guide the animator module, used for learning the objectives and challenges in a procedure.

The vision of SimSurgery is to become a leading developer and supplier of advanced real time 3D solutions for Virtual Reality simulation and training in medical practice. SimSurgery provides together with Mentice Corporation training solutions for basic laparoscopic training. SimSurgery has developed a basic simulator for surgical robots where surgeons can train on suturing, anastomosis, and surgical planning with robotic systems. SimSurgery is based in Oslo and has its clinical anchoring at the Interventional Centre, National University Hospital of Norway. SimSurgery has collaborations with industrial partners for providing tailor made solutions.

The Mentice Corporation develops, markets, and sells advanced computer based virtual reality (VR) medical simulation systems for a wide range of applications. Mentice is headquartered in Sweden and has a very international focus with partners globally. Medical Education Technologies Inc. (METI) is the exclusive North American distributor for all Mentice products. Mentice is also a high competence partner for the medical industry in providing customised tools for development, training, and marketing.

The Mentice training systems are highly realistic turnkey solutions, including haptic tactile hardware, simulation software, expert assistance, global service and support for surgical training, education, and skill assessment. Currently, Mentice products are focused on three minimal invasive surgery areas, which are endovascular intervention, laparoscopy, and arthroscopy. The Mentice Corporation has offices in Gothenburg, Sweden, and San Diego and Cincinnati in the USA. More news on Mentice and METI is available in this VMW issue's article Mentice and METI medical simulation experts partner to broaden commercial scope in North America.


Leslie Versweyveld

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