Immersion receives funding to advance trauma simulation products for military and civilian health care

San Jose 08 April 2003Immersion Medical, a wholly owned subsidiary of Immersion Corporation, a developer and licensor of haptic feedback technology, has been awarded a $349.000 research and development grant from the National Medical Technology Testbed (NMTB). The NMTB programme identifies, evaluates and selects researchers who can improve military and civilian health care. With this federal grant, Immersion Medical will build on its successful CathSim Vascular Access simulator for training in intravenous procedures and develop a computer-based training simulation for a life-saving procedure called pericardiocentesis.

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Pericardiocentesis is an emergency procedure required for all doctors to learn as part of their Advanced Trauma Life Support training. During the procedure, a physician inserts a needle through the chest wall to remove fluid around a patient's heart. Emergency room doctors, surgeons, anaesthesiologists, internists and paediatricians use this procedure in intensive care units as well as in emergency rooms.

"This NMTB-sponsored research will help Immersion Medical deliver a suite of trauma simulation products", stated Richard Stacey, Vice President and General Manager of Immersion Medical. "Together with recently awarded grants for development of central catheter placement and thoracentesis simulations, this funding allows completion of a critical package for procedural training that all physicians and surgeons have to undergo."

Immersion Medical's portable, computer-based training simulator will focus on the needles and catheters used in pericardiocentesis and model the interaction with relevant thoracic anatomy. The system will integrate refined simulation hardware with advanced educational software, which is designed to simulate visual and haptic effects on skin and subsurface tissues in response to needle pressure and insertion.

The laptop touch pad will simulate heart palpations. Army and civilian medical professionals will be able to practice real-world scenarios on a variety of digital patients before performing difficult insertions on real patients. Since its establishment in 1992, NMTB has funded over 110 projects.

The CathSim Vascular Access simulator is a realistic, computer-based system for teaching and assessing cognitive and motor skills for needle insertion, such as for starting an IV or drawing blood. Using real-time computer graphics, including anatomic models developed from actual patient data and a robotic interface device, force is transmitted through the needle to provide tactile sensations mimicking the needle entering the skin and into the vein.

Founded in 1993, Immersion Corporation is specialised in developing, licensing and marketing haptic technology and products. Bringing value to markets where user/ product interaction needs to be made more compelling, safer or productive, Immersion helps its partners develop and increase competitive advantage and broaden market reach by making the use of touch sense feedback as critical a user experience as sight and sound. Immersion's technology is deployed across personal computing, entertainment, medical training, automotive and three-dimensional simulation markets. Immersion and its wholly owned subsidiaries hold over 185 issued patents worldwide.

Immersion Medical designs, manufactures and markets computer-based medical simulation systems worldwide. The systems integrate proprietary computer software and tactile feedback robotics with new economical, high-powered computers to create highly realistic simulations. The company's four key product lines are the CathSim Vascular Access Simulator, the AccuTouch Endoscopy Simulator, the AccuTouch Endovascular Simulator, and the Accutouch Laparoscopy Simulator. More news on Immersion Medical is available in the VMW April 2003 article U.S. Army invests in Immersion's trauma simulators to advance combat medical training.


Leslie Versweyveld

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