Hand-Holding Robot Teaches Novice Surgeons to Move Like the Masters

It takes hundreds upon hundreds of practice hours for surgical students to develop the hand-eye coordination and muscle memory needed to handle complex operations. This new system aims to speed that process by literally holding the surgeon's hands.

RoSS (Robotic Surgical Simulator) employs the da Vinci robotic surgical system in conjunction with HoST (Hands on surgical training) software to create a real time AR simulation of specific operating room scenarios. Think of it as a flight simulator for doctors — except of course, you aren't zipping under the London Bridge in a Concorde, you're zooming around in some guy's torso.

Beyond just watching the operation unfold, trainees receive haptic feedback through the da Vinci, "feeling" the movements made the recorded, experienced surgeon. The HoST software overlays anatomical drawings, text and audio instructions atop the video and accurately reproduces the movement of tissues and organs.

"Two robotic devices hold the hands of the trainee and guides him or her through the complex motions required to carry out the surgical steps," said Dr Kesavadas, Head of the Virtual Reality Lab, University of Buffalo. "The software immerses the trainee into a real surgical scenario based on a real case performed by master surgeons."

To create the training scenarios, da Vinci records the movements made by an experienced surgeon during an actual operation and then plays it back for the student, requiring them to match the illustrated movements in order to proceed. To date, the system only has scenarios involving the removal of the prostrate gland, uterus, bladder, and lymph-node dissection.

[via FastCompany]