This system will provide high-quality training, without animals or mechanical models.

The system includes both hardware and software components that emulate a laparoscopic situation. The system can be made to generate displays that resemble various body surfaces with various port placements and enables anatomical explorations specific to surgical procedures. The simulation software runs on a standard personal computer and offers a wide range of skill training. The simulation can include displays of abstract scenes and of realistic scenes like those encountered in surgical procedures. (Many basic skills can be learned in abstract environments; more advanced skills can be learned in procedure- realistic environments).

The system is equipped to compute validated metrics for assessment of a user's competence level. The software of this system includes an administrative application program and software tools through which this program can gain access to other modular software that generates educational multimedia displays. The educational modules can easily be added or updated. The software also includes application programs for training in a roaming mode (free selection of exercises) and training in a session mode (that is, according to a predefined curriculum). In the session mode, it is possible to require that the user perform in excess of a specified competence level before progressing to the next set of training exercises.

The development effort thus far has been focused on design, construction, and testing of a small demonstration version of the system for training in such basic skills as manipulation of surgical instruments, dissection, and suturing. From results of tests of 21 laparoscopic simulation exercises, it was concluded that the simulation software must be modified to render it capable of managing and recording collisions between instruments. It is planned that in the next phase, the effort will be focused on development of a specific robot-assisted procedure.

This work was done by Jan Sigurd Rotnes of SimSurgery AS for the Army Research Laboratory. For more information, download the Technical Support Package (free white paper) at www.defensetechbriefs.com/tsp under the Bio-Medical category. ARL-0014

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).

Portable Simulator for Training in Robot-Assisted Surgery (reference ARL-0014) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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