Named as one of the best inventions of 2018 by Time magazine, the Fundamental Surgery platform was launched in August 2018. It 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 procedure. What sets Fundamental Surgery apart from other solutions, is that 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 (SHIET), which is calibrated to mimic real-life sensations of numerous medical tools and tissue variants within a submillimeter 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. “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.
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.”