The development of a haptic guidance system to facilitate minimally invasive surgical training and telementoring is currently underway at CASIT. While MIS techniques have been shown to provide tremendous advantages for patients, novice laparoscopic surgeons developing their skills face challenging learning curves. In addition, expert mentors are concentrated in relatively few centers and are often times not readily available at remote locations especially near battlefield settings. A system that combines the functionality of real time and intraoperative videoconferencing with haptic guidance will allow a novice operator to perform an endoscopic procedure with the assistance of a remote expert via telementoring.
The focus of this program is to integrate low-profile actuators and sensors into traditional laparoscopic instruments. The sensors provide precise information on the position of each individual tool. The actuators integrated into the system allow a user to remotely use the instruments without physically touching them. The combined system is incorporated with user graphics that enable a virtual reality in remote settings. Recently , the entire system was used to evaluate the proficiencies of novice and expert users, i.e. construct validity. The new tool combined with computer user interfaces is expected to provide a more expedited learning process to novice surgeons and reduce the learning curve from a year to months. Finally, remote assistance concepts using the actuated laparoscopic instruments are being evaluated. These results are very promising given that the current system is a relatively low profile and can easily be moved from location to location. The proposed system is a novel enabling technology with potentially additional benefits and uses, that may be identified in the future. Future work is focusing on understanding and implementing this novel system to improve modern medicine, in addition to the main targets of this project.
Funding for this work is provided by the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) and the Department of Defense (DoD).
Petros Faloutsos, PhD, Department of Computer Science
Tsu-Chin Tsao, PhD, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Erik Dutson, MD Division of General Surgery
E. Carmack Holmes, MD, Division of Thoracic Surgery
Graduate Students: Lica Nestor, Brian Allen
Publications in Peer Reviewed Journals:
Publications in Conference and Symposium Proceedings:
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Sunshine-Hill B, "Photorealistic lighting with offset radiance transfer mapping", Master's Thesis, University of California, Los Angeles, 2006.