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FundamentalVR has unveiled more details for its virtual reality surgery training platform, which uses advanced technologies such as haptic (touch) feedback to show doctors how to do surgeries.

The Fundamental Surgery platform updates aim to add new realism to VR surgery to make it into a better alternative to traditional medical education methods where medical students carve up cadavers.

The platform leverages full force-feedback kinesthetic haptics, high-fidelity graphics, and 3D spatial technology. That gives surgeons the ability to get touch feedback while interacting with soft tissue on a virtual body, enabling them to manipulate and feel the texture of anatomy as if they were in the operating room, the company said.

This enhancement opens the door for accelerated learning in an even wider range of procedures, building real capability and confidence ahead of human interaction.

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Above: Virtual surgery is real when it comes to training.

Image Credit: FundamentalVR

The enhanced soft tissue capabilities are part of the company’s five-year technology and clinical journey that has seen its Haptic R&D team work closely with surgeons and educator experts from around the world, drawing from leading universities as well as spatial technology and medical specialists such as David Farley at the Mayo Clinic.

The impact of the advanced tissue capabilities are not just skin deep. FundamentalVR said its development allows the company to deliver enhanced and unparalleled solutions for current simulations in areas such as spine, orthopedic, and ophthalmology, as well as new capabilities in soft tissue surgery, interventional, and many more.

Richard Vincent, CEO of London-based FundamentalVR, said in a statement that the company’s tech will accelerate learning and transform traditional medical teaching into cost-effective and safe VR methodologies. It will give the virtual surgery more fidelity, control, feeling, and visual interaction on par with practicing with wet labs or cadavers, he said. He predicted that those methods could be eliminated within five years.

FundamentalVR simulations are delivered through its Fundamental Surgery platform that allows users to experience the same sights, sounds, feelings, and sensations they would in a real operating room. It combines HapticVR technology and analytics of previously unmeasurable data points to advanced surgical skills allowing precision techniques to be acquired.

It is made possible by the company’s Haptic Intelligence Engine, which delivers full kinesthetic force feedback haptics into a variety of handheld devices, ranging from basestation-held instruments to haptic gloves within a submillimeter of accuracy, all low cost and commercial off-the-shelf hardware.

Above: Surgeons and trainees can meet in VR.

Image Credit: FundamentalVR

It profoundly changes the way immersive technology is used in medical education. Often, VR programs are primarily used to help acquire knowledge. Now, by adding cutting-edge soft tissue simulation to the most advanced haptics available, the company enables accelerated acquisition of skills anywhere in the world by allowing practitioners to build the muscle memory required for proficiency and essential for precise surgical skills transfer.

The challenges of social distancing and a reduction in elective surgeries has fueled a surge in the use of Fundamental Surgery, which was already deployed prior to the pandemic, as a credible alternative to in-person and on human learning.

The benefits of virtual surgery include:

  • Scalability: The low-cost platform allows expert surgeons to advance skills in highly precise and expert areas without the expense and logistic challenges of traditional wet labs and cadavers.
  • Remote education: Allows users to perform highly complex procedures fully simulated in VR. This provides highly scalable global skills transfer programs for medical devices, pharma, and biopharma customers globally.
  • Muscle retention: Surgeons can create high frequency motor skills interactions that build muscle retention through the ability to deliberately fail as well as succeed.
  • Accelerated learning: Provides users measurements for every interaction and decision, delivering a level of analysis not previously available. Specific metrics include economy of movement, 3D spatial awareness, surgical gaze, preservation of tissue, and human factors such as dealing with adverse events and complications.
  • Progressive techniques: VR replaces clinical trials with sophistication. Through the simulation surgeons can test difficult procedures safely before entering the operating room.

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