Open Simulation – Building low cost, AR & VR surgical simulation tools

By 2030, we need an additional 2.2 million surgeons, anesthetists and obstetricians to meet the world’s needs. Surgery simulation allows surgeons and trainees to practice surgical procedures in complete safety but it is currently prohibitively expensive. Open Simulation is changing that.

Together with PhD researcher Yeshwanth Pulijala, we are creating open source, affordable simulation for learning and practicing surgical skills. The approach uses a combination of augmented reality and virtual reality which we hope will help bring surgical simulation training to those who need it most.

Proof of Concept Video

Finished Prototype

The Lapkit consists of 6 panels of laser cut MDF, assembled with a box joint. Inside the box are two low cost LED lights, designed to keep the lighting consistent within the box. This helps to make sure the surgical instruments can be tracked using the accompanying mobile application in any environment.

On the end of the surgical instruments, we placed small 3D printed cubes. On the surface of these cubes, visual patterns  (referred to as ‘fiducial’ markers) allow the mobile app to recognise and track the tips of the surgical instruments. A game engine called Unity3D was used to develop a basic training module for Android phones, utilising a software library called ‘ARToolkit’ to track the markers on the tips of the surgical instruments.

Additional Augmented Reality Demo