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Virtual Touch Helps Keyhole Surgeons to 'feel' Tumours

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Haptic device

Users can manipulate tissues using haptic feedback.

Credit: Leeds University

Leeds University researchers have developed tactile feedback technology that combines computer virtualization with a hand-held haptic device that simulates pressure on a surgeon's hand when touching human tissue remotely, allowing the doctors a virtual sense of feeling tumors during an operation.

The new system could enable surgeons to handle a tumor remotely to determine if it is malignant or benign. The system works by varying feedback pressure on the user's hand when the density of the tissue being examined changes. "You can actually feel the response forces you would have felt on your hand," says Leeds researcher Earle Jamieson.

During testing, the researchers simulated tumors in a human liver using a soft block of silicon embedded with ball bearings, which the user was able to locate using the haptic feedback system. "Three or four surgeons tried an early version of our system, and thought it was potentially very useful," Jamieson says.

From BBC News
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Abstracts Copyright © 2011 Information Inc. External Link, Bethesda, Maryland, USA 



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