FundamentalVR has showcased 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.

The Fundamental Surgery platform was launched in August 2018. It combines virtual reality (VR) with haptics (the sense of touch) to create a scalable ‘flight simulator’ experience for trainees and qualified surgeons, allowing them to experience and navigate the same visuals, sounds and feelings they would during real surgical procedures.

Fundamental Surgery is designed to be equipment agnostic, compatible with any laptop, VR headset or haptic device, which FundamentalVR showcased with HaptX Gloves combined with a 3DS Haptic arm. At the heart of the system is the Surgical Haptic Intelligence EngineTM (SHIETM), which is calibrated to mimic real life sensations of numerous medical tools and tissue variants within a submillimeter accuracy of resistance.

“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.”

HaptX Gloves are powered by patented microfluidic technology, where 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. Its 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 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.

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.