FundamentalVR, a firm based in London, UK, is releasing in the United States its Fundamental Surgery virtual reality surgical simulator. The system uses off-the-shelf haptic feedback controllers to manipulate objects in the virtual world. This gives the user the ability to touch what feels like physical objects while working in the virtual scene. Because it relies on existing equipment, the simulator is reportedly rather affordable.
All the objects in the surgical scene, particularly the tissues, have a calibrated feel that can be sensed through the pen controllers. As you move a scalpel into tissue using the pen, it penetrates and does its best to feel like actual tissue of that type.
Though we have high hopes for simulators with such capabilities, if not done right it may create an uncanny valley effect. FundamentalVR believes its so-called “Surgical Haptic Intelligence Engine” is accurate enough to provide life-like feeling using their system.