A new virtual reality platform that uses haptic feedback to simulate real-life surgical situations has been launched in the US.
Fundamental VR is a surgical simulation platform that aims to recreate the same kinds of experiences that occur during real-life surgeries.
Designed as a training tool, the platform combines a VR headset with two devices that look like pens attached to moveable arms. These arms feature haptics, precise vibrations which provide users with a sense of touch, something which could be vital for surgical training.
The developers are using its Surgical Haptic Intelligence Engine, (SHIETM) which has been calibrated to mimic the real-life sensations of surgical tools as well as different tissues. This allows users to experience a sense of touch when interacting with simulations of tissue, muscle and bone, within, according to the developers, a submillimetre of accuracy.
More so, the developers hope that Fundamental VR is able to democratise surgical training by eliminating the need for complex and expensive training systems. Fundamental VR works with any modern laptop or PC, standard VR headsets and two haptic arm devices.
“Our mission is to democratise surgical training by placing safe, affordable and authentic simulations within arm’s reach of every surgeon in the world,” said Richard Vincent, founder and CEO of Fundamental VR. “With the help of some of the top minds in medicine, as well some of the most advanced VR and haptic programmers, we have created a solution that can be deployed anywhere – with limited investment – to allow surgeons to learn and hone their skills over and over again in a safe and controlled environment.”
Surgical training typically consists of classroom-based theory or observation and practice involving cadavers, methods which are expensive and only have limited use. Current surgical simulation tools are either exceedingly expensive or don’t provide any sense of touch.
Fundamental VR’s simulations assess and measure the performances from users, gives them real-time feedback on instrument use and techniques, procedural accuracy and patient impact. Users can track their progress and see which areas of surgery they need to refine upon.
The system will also present rare complications or scenarios during simulations to present the unexpected things that can happen during live procedures. Much like the way that pilots train for bird strikes or engine failures, this feature will hopefully prepare trainee surgeons for many scenarios and facilitate better patient outcomes.
Fundamental VR is available in the US and is initially focussing on training packages related to orthopaedic surgeries, with other packages intended for future release.