#133: Gareth Henshall on using high-fidelity haptics to simulate a kidney biopsy procedure

Gareth Henshall is from Bangor University in the United Kingdom, and was presenting a poster at IEEE VR titled “Towards a High Fidelity Simulation of the Kidney Biopsy Procedure.” Their goal was to create a low-cost training simulation that could allow doctors to train on having the experience of giving someone a kidney biopsy. They tried to do it without haptic feedback, and found that it was not effective at all.


They ended up using a haptic needle that was able to simulate a force profile for the different tissues of the kidney, liver, and spine. They captured these force profiles of the tissues by using a Force Sensitive Resistor Glove that they created that’s able to measure the pressure in Newtons measured over time for different substances.

They’re using a zSpace holographic imaging display to show a stereoscopic torso with the organs that are surrounding the kidney, and in combination with the haptic feedback then they’re able to recreate the feeling of doing this medical procedure in a safe and repeatable fashion.

The takeaway point for me is that to do haptics well, then you have to have a very specific use case. Here they’re recreating a specific medical procedure. And they plan on expanding this to other procedures with other force profiles so that this one system could simulate 30-40 different procedures, which is pretty much impossible to do right now since the physical models that exist today are created for each different procedure.

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio

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