Surgical Simulation Industry First: HaptX Gloves Provide Haptic Feedback for VR Training with Fundamental Surgery

In what may be an absolute first for the surgical simulation industry, Fundamental Surgery just demonstrated the ability to integrate its Surgical Haptic Intelligence Engine with the HaptX haptic glove, providing training surgeons the opportunity to feel their virtual reality environment! FundamentalVR, pioneers of immersive training technology for the medical simulation community, has become even more hands on with a technological showcase of the groundbreaking HaptX Gloves on its Fundamental Surgery platform. Demonstrated for the first time at the annual general meeting of the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), FundamentalVR and HaptX are providing a glimpse of the near future where surgeons can use their entire hand and fingers as part of a virtual simulation educational experience.

Named as one of the best inventions of 2018 by Time magazine, the Fundamental Surgery platform was launched in August 2018. The surgical simulator combines virtual reality (VR) with cutting-edge haptics (the sense of touch) to create a scalable ‘flight simulator’ experience for trainee and qualified surgeons, allowing them to experience and navigate the same visuals, sounds and feelings they would during a real surgical procedures.

What sets Fundamental Surgery apart from other solutions, is it is designed to be equipment agnostic, compatible with any laptop, VR headset or haptic device, which today Fundamental showcases with HaptX Gloves combined with a 3DS Haptic arm. At the heart of the Fundamental Surgery system is the unique Surgical Haptic Intelligence Engine (SHIE), which is calibrated to mimic real life sensations of numerous medical tools and tissue variants within a sub-millimeter accuracy of resistance. The joint initiative with HaptX is a further demonstration of the flexibility of the platform to integrate its haptic sensations and intelligence into third party devices.

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“When it comes to surgical training simulations, a sense of touch is a game changer, but has traditionally only been possible with immobile equipment costing hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Richard Vincent, CEO, FundamentalVR. “The Fundamental Surgery platform delivers highly sophisticated tactile feedback at a fraction of the cost through a software approach that can work with a range of haptic devices. Our platform currently works with haptic arms, but is designed to evolve as hardware innovations allow new products such as HaptX Gloves to come to market. We are proud to work with industry leaders such as HaptX and are excited to demonstrate how HaptX Gloves integrated into our Surgical Haptics Intelligence Engine takes the sensation of surgery to an exciting new and natural level.”

HaptX Gloves are one of the most sophisticated haptic devices ever developed. Powered by patented microfluidic technology, each glove houses 130 tactile actuators that press the user’s skin, replicating the sensation of touching a physical object. A force feedback exoskeleton applies up to four pounds of force per finger, enhancing perception of shape and rigidity. Industry-leading motion capture technology tracks the user’s hand movements with sub-millimeter precision. This combination of realistic touch, powerful force, and precise motion tracking delivers the world’s most realistic haptic feedback.

In the first-of-its-kind demonstration, the technology integration of HaptX and FundamentalVR allows surgeons to use their hands naturally in a virtual world. It enables a very detailed interaction with a patient during an Anterior Total Hip Arthroplasty, allowing users to feel the presence of boney growth around the rim of hip socket in addition to identifying a key ligament that helps orientate a surgeon in the next few critical steps.

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The realistic tactile feedback goes beyond regular simulations and helps develop the muscle memory and skills essential for effective learning. This combined with the educational content and real-time skills and knowledge assessment makes the platform an invaluable training tool.

“The ability to touch and interact naturally with virtual environments is transforming the way industries train workers and bring products to market,” said Jake Rubin, Founder and CEO of HaptX. “The healthcare industry is at the forefront of this shift, and it’s set to be transformed by advancements in VR and haptics. We are delighted to be working with Fundamental Surgery as our first medical partner to demonstrate how HaptX Gloves can make surgical simulations more immersive and effective.”

Today, Fundamental Surgery is deployed with a number of medical institutions including Mayo Clinic and UCLA in the US, UCLH in the UK and Sana in Germany with initial training packages focused on the orthopedic surgical disciplines.  The procedures it currently supports include Spinal Pedicle Screw, Total Hip Arthroplasty (Posterior), Total Hip Arthroplasty (Anterior) and Total Knee Arthroplasty.

Validation Study of Fundamental Surgery 

A recent article entitled “Validation of Fundamental Surgery, a Haptic education platform, in conjunction with the British Orthopaedic Training Association” by Peter Rainger, Chief Learning Officer, helped validate the training device for surgery simulation training events. A pilot study was undertaken of Fundamental Surgery’s orthopaedic procedure simulation at the British Orthopaedic Training Association conference. Forty participants undertook a trial of the platform to assess the validity of the simulation and provide feedback to aid in improving the educational platform. 92.5% of the participants agreed or strongly agreed with the statement ‘The simulator would be a useful tool for rehearsal prior to an operation’ whilst 90% agreed or strongly agreed with ‘The simulator represents a useful training and assessment tool’ – this shows overwhelmingly that the simulations and the Fundamental Surgery platform provide real tangible product value to participants.

About Fundamental Surgery

FundamentalVR is the main product of Fundamental Surgery, whose mission is to give healthcare simulation programs access to the best clinical simulation training activities on a day-to-day basis. They believe that every surgeon should have the opportunity to rehearse, practice and test themselves within a safe, controllable space that is as close to real life as possible and is within an arm’s reach of their work place. Fundamental Surgery is a software platform that takes advantage of readily available virtual reality software combined with cutting edge haptics (the sense of touch) to create a simulation system that can be used on any modern PC set up, even a laptop. The result is a simulation system that requires a low hardware investment and a simple ongoing license fee.

About the HaptX Device

Today, designers and engineers can’t interact with a product until after they build a physical prototype. With HaptX Gloves, teams can touch and interact with 3D models throughout the product design process. HaptX Gloves enable teams to prototype swiftly in VR, experiencing each virtual design with unprecedented realism. This combines the speed and flexibility of CAD software with the value of physical interaction and testing, enabling a more efficient VR workflow and reducing time to market.

Training providers face a trade-off between virtual and live training. Virtual training is inexpensive and repeatable, but neither as realistic nor as effective as live training. Live training may be immersive and effective, but exercises can be costly to simulate and difficult to repeat. Training in VR with HaptX Gloves gives the best of both worlds: the immersiveness and effectiveness of live training, with the low cost and repeatability of virtual training. Because changing the training scenario is as simple as launching new software, HaptX Gloves and a VR headset make the ultimate training platform. A single system can run countless simulations.

Learn more about the HaptX Gloves on the
Fundamental Surgery Website!

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