Stereoscopic visualization and haptic technology used to create a virtual environment for remote surgery

J. M. Bornhoft, K. W. Strabala, T. D. Wortman, A. C. Lehman, Dmitry Oleynikov, S. M. Farritor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The objective of this research is to study the effectiveness of using a stereoscopic visualization system for performing remote surgery. The use of stereoscopic vision has become common with the advent of the da Vinci® system (Intuitive, Sunnyvale CA). This system creates a virtual environment that consists of a 3-D display for visual feedback and haptic tactile feedback, together providing an intuitive environment for remote surgical applications. This study will use simple in vivo robotic surgical devices and compare the performance of surgeons using the stereoscopic interfacing system to the performance of surgeons using one dimensional monitors. The stereoscopic viewing system consists of two cameras, two monitors, and four mirrors. The cameras are mounted to a multi-functional miniature in vivo robot; and mimic the depth perception of the actual human eyes. This is done by placing the cameras at a calculated angle and distance apart. Live video streams from the left and right cameras are displayed on the left and right monitors, respectively. A system of angled mirrors allows the left and right eyes to see the video stream from the left and right monitor, respectively, creating the illusion of depth. The haptic interface consists of two PHANTOM Omni® (SensAble, Woburn Ma) controllers. These controllers measure the position and orientation of a pen-like end effector with three degrees of freedom. As the surgeon uses this interface, they see a 3-D image and feel force feedback for collision and workspace limits. The stereoscopic viewing system has been used in several surgical training tests and shows a potential improvement in depth perception and 3-D vision. The haptic system accurately gives force feedback that aids in surgery. Both have been used in nonsurvival animal surgeries, and have successfully been used in suturing and gallbladder removal. Bench top experiments using the interfacing system have also been conducted. A group of participants completed two different surgical training tasks using both a two dimensional visual system and the stereoscopic visual system. Results suggest that the stereoscopic visual system decreased the amount of time taken to complete the tasks. All participants also reported that the stereoscopic system was easier to utilize than the two dimensional system. Haptic controllers combined with stereoscopic vision provides for a more intuitive virtual environment. This system provides the surgeon with 3-D vision, depth perception, and the ability to receive feedback through forces applied in the haptic controller while performing surgery. These capabilities potentially enable the performance of more complex surgeries with a higher level of precision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-81
Number of pages6
JournalBiomedical Sciences Instrumentation
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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