Immersion Medical and GMV sign agreement for new virtual reality arthroscopy simulation system

Madrid 21 April 2008Immersion Medical, a wholly owned subsidiary of Immersion, and GMV have signed an agreement whereby Immersion Medical will market and sell GMV's insightArthroVR virtual reality arthroscopy surgical simulator in most countries around the world. Immersion Medical begins accepting orders today and will exhibit the new VR arthroscopy system at the 2008 annual meeting of the Arthroscopy Association of North America in Washington, D.C., April 24-27.


"GMV and Immersion Medical are focused on providing high-fidelity virtual reality simulators that can help physicians acquire the skills needed for minimally invasive surgery", stated Jorge Potti, director of Advanced Healthcare Technologies, GMV. "Because arthroscopy is such a fast-growing field, it is vital that the insightArthroVR simulator be made available to arthroscopic practitioners worldwide, and Immersion Medical is the organisation that can do that."

It is widely held that the total number of arthroscopic procedures has rapidly increased over the last decade (Kane, D., D.J. Veale, O. FitzGerald, and R. Reece. 2002. Survey of arthroscopy performed by rheumatologists. Rheumatology 41: 210-215), with knee arthroscopy now one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures (Knee Arthroscopy Gets Patients Back On Their Feet Fast. 2008. Medical News Today. January 15).

However, a survey in 2002 found that the most frequent source of arthroscopy training for rheumatologists was informal training under the supervision of a trained colleague (Kane, D., D.J. Veale, O. FitzGerald, and R. Reece. 2002. Survey of arthroscopy performed by rheumatologists. Rheumatology 41: 210-215). The new insightArthroVR surgical simulator has been endorsed by the Spanish Arthroscopy Association Education Board as a tool of interest for the education of arthroscopic techniques. Further, it has been validated as having a high degree of realism to help surgeons master the techniques needed for arthroscopy, such as triangulation, visualization, and tool handling. (Bayonet, S., M. Garcia, C. Mendoza, and J.M. Fernindez. 2006. Shoulder Arthroscopy Training System with Force Feedback. Medical Information Visualisation - BioMedical Visualisation, 2006. MediVis 2006: 71-76.)

The new insightArthroVR arthroscopy virtual reality simulator incorporates a computer, touchscreen, proxy arthroscopic camera, tools, interchangeable interface model - shoulder or knee, and training software. Training modules include Basic Training, which helps users acquire the skills needed for camera and tool handling, Shoulder Arthroscopy, and Knee Arthroscopy. The system simulates the look and feel of minimally invasive shoulder and knee surgeries, such as subacromial decompression, where the inflamed bursa is removed to allow inspection of the rotator cuff, and ACL reconstruction.

Several cases encompassing a wide variety of anatomies and pathologies are provided to help users smoothly advance in their proficiency. Automated skill indicators provide an objective evaluation of user progress.

"The advantages of minimally invasive arthroscopy include decreased soft tissue disruption, less pain, and less chance for infection, but the procedure requires highly proficient psychomotor skills", explained Richard Vogel, senior vice president and general manager, Immersion Medical. "The medical profession needs an effective, convenient, high-fidelity VR simulator to help ensure this proficiency, and we're very pleased that Immersion Medical can now offer this exciting new product, thereby broadening our product line even further. In addition to arthroscopy, we offer VR simulation in endovascular, endoscopy, laparoscopy, IV insertion, and epidural procedures."

GMV is a privately owned Spanish technology group founded in 1984 and trading on a worldwide scale in the following sectors: Aerospace, Defense and Security, Transport, Telecommunications, Health Care and IT for public administration and large corporations. In 2006 it achieved revenue of 77 million euro working with a 913-strong staff. The company's growth strategy is based on continual innovation; 10 percent of its turnover is plowed back into R&D.

GMV hence ranks fifth among all Spanish firms in terms of returns on the European Community's Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development and holds several international patents. GMV is an expert in arthroscopy simulation for training, and is currently one of the world's two foremost suppliers of satellite control centres; as a firm it boasts Europe's third biggest participation by volume in Galileo; it is the main supplier of C3I command and control systems to the Spanish army and the nation's top supplier of telematic systems for public transport.

Immersion Medical Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets computer-based surgical simulation training systems worldwide. The medical and surgical simulators integrate proprietary computer software and tactile feedback robotics to create highly realistic medical simulations that help train clinicians. The company's key product lines are the Virtual IV system, Endoscopy AccuTouch simulator, CathLabVR surgical simulator, and LaparoscopyVR surgical simulation system.

Founded in 1993, Immersion Corporation is a recognized expert in developing, licensing, and marketing digital touch technology and products. Using Immersion's advanced touch feedback technology, electronic user interfaces can be made more productive, compelling, entertaining, or safer. Immersion's technology is deployed across automotive, entertainment, industrial controls, medical training, mobility, and three-dimensional simulation markets. Immersion's patent portfolio includes over 700 issued or pending patents in the United States and other countries. More company news can be found in this VMW issue's article Immersion Medical adds Knot Tying and Suturing to LaparoscopyVR surgical simulator.

Leslie Versweyveld

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