Haptica's 2005 European IST Prize-winning life-like surgical simulator is a cut-above the competition

Dublin 13 December 2004With an overall mission to improve health care delivery through innovative technology, Irish start-up company Haptica Ltd. is leading the field in the development and supply of prize winning surgical simulators. Haptica's ProMIS is an open platform that delivers a blended solution for training MIS teams. Haptica's unique platform technology integrates a patient manikin, real surgical equipment, objective assessment of surgical skills, 3D graphics and certified curricula.

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ProMIS contains a number of ground breaking innovations. The user interface is based on real-time 3D computer vision tracking. A Virtual Reality simulation of the abdomen reacts to real surgical instruments. A motion analysis system objectively measures surgical skills. A fully interactive 3D Augmented Reality system blends video and interactive graphical objects. The system also contains Augmented Reality lesson creation tools for non-programmers.

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Haptica was co-founded by Dr. Gerard Lacey, Chief Technical Officer, and Fiona Slevin, Director of Marketing, in 2000 and currently employs nineteen people in offices in central Dublin and Boston. The company works closely with world-leading surgeons and practitioners to develop products like ProMIS, as well as drawing on its own team's considerable know-how in medical devices, computer science and learning systems.

"ProMIS is an Augmented Reality surgical simulation system", explained Dr. Lacey. "It enables users to learn the basic skills and techniques of minimally invasive surgery without having to practise on patients. So for example, trainee surgeons can practise with virtual and physical models, and receive accurate and comprehensive feedback on their performance." The ProMIS system is a combination of a physical model of a torso, a PC and multimedia software. Users practise with real-time surgical tools in the torso and the computer screen displays the view that they would normally see from a laparoscopic video camera.

During three independent trials in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States, ProMIS was shown to be extremely precise at measuring the skill level of surgeons. The system's high degree of innovation and clinical impact is reflected in the three prizes won this year: the 2005 European IST Prize from the European Commission's DG Information Society, the 2004 Innovation of the Year from the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons in the United States, and the Irish Software Association Technical Innovation Award 2004. Already, Haptica is enjoying global commercial success with a client list that includes the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Shoa University in Japan, Ford Health in the United States, and Queensland Health in Australia.

This year Haptica's annual turnover is set to reach 1 million euros for the first time. To help sustain the rapid growth of the company, the company is seeking Venture Capital funding. "We are looking to raise early stage financing", remarked Dr. Lacey. "Investment is required from external sources in order to fund the development and release of new products for the minimally invasive surgical market."

Describing the company vision, the entrepreneur concluded enthusiastically: "We aim to build on our brand and market presence to deliver new products that move Haptica incrementally into the position of preferred support provider for minimally invasive surgery."

For more information you can contact Dr. Gerard Lacey, Chief Technical Officer, Haptica Ltd., Unit 1, Trinity Enterprise Centre, Pearse Street, Dublin D2, Ireland, Tel.: +353-1-6359775, Mobile phone: +353-872396567, Fax: +353-1-6752181 or visit the Haptica company Web site. This article was reprinted from the IST Results Web site.


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