Advanced virtual simulator for fundamentals of laparoscopic surgery training and credentialing

Period of Performance: 07/21/2015 - 06/30/2016


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

28 Corporate Drive Array
Clifton Park, NY 12065
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Surgical simulators are powerful tools that assist in providing advanced training for complex procedures and objective skills assessment. They accelerate the training of residents without a penalty in morbidity and mortality, while improving skills where patient outcome clearly correlates with surgical experience. Fundamentals of laparoscopic surgery (FLS) is a comprehensive program that was developed by the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) to teach and evaluate the cognitive and psychomotor aspects unique to laparoscopic surgery. The program uses a mechanical training toolbox for skill assessment. The major drawback of the mechanical toolbox is that the process of assessment is tedious, time consuming and costly, requiring significant manual labor. In addition, the test materials must be replaced constantly after they are cut or sutured. To overcome these drawbacks, a virtual basic laparoscopic skill trainer (VBLaST) has been developed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) over the past four years. Preliminary validation results show that the VBLaST system is significantly realistic in portraying the FLS tasks. The VBLaST prototype was designed to facilitate the development of the software platform and to serve as a validation platform for the virtual FLS concept. However, it (1) does not include the two new tasks (camera navigation and cannulation) that have been proposed for inclusion in the most recent FLS 2.0;(2) has limited capability of computing performance scores based on the FLS metrics and (3) has experimental hardware for interfacing with the software system with inadequate haptic (force) fidelity. The overall goal of this project is to work with th FLS committee and address these three major limitations of the VBLaST system to develop a robust, reliable and effective virtual FLS system and conduct clinical validation studies in preparation for commercialization. Two small businesses (Kitware and SimQuest) with a strong track record of cutting-edge software service and simulation technology will team with RPI and the FLS committee to develop and market this novel product.