LONDON – August 14, 2018 – FundamentalVR delivers haptics for humanity with the U.S. launch of Fundamental Surgery, an immersive simulator that allows surgeons to feel like they are performing actual surgery

Combination of Authentic Surgical Procedures with VR Haptics Technology Creates a Realistic Flight Simulator Experience enabling Surgeons to Train and Practice Anytime – for the Cost of Just One Cadaver

Fundamental Surgery VR simulations with haptics. Driving fundamental change in the world of medical training with virtual reality surgical simulations

It’s Fundamental Surgery’s unique combination of SHIE ™ technology with VR simulation that generates maximum immersion.

FundamentalVR, pioneers of immersive training technology for the medical community, today launched Fundamental Surgery, a first-of-its-kind SaaS software platform that combines virtual reality (VR) with cutting-edge haptics (the sense of touch) to create a low-cost and scalable flight simulator experience for trainee and qualified surgeons. Unlike other medical training simulations that make professionals feel like they have been through a game-like experience, Fundamental Surgery creates an authentic environment that allows users to experience and navigate the same visuals, sounds and feelings they would during a real surgical procedure.

At the heart of the system is its unique Surgical Haptic Intelligence EngineTM (SHIETM), which is calibrated to mimic real life sensations of numerous medical tools and tissue variants. By combining immersive haptic technology with low cost, off-the-shelf hardware, Fundamental Surgery is democratizing surgical simulation through plug-and-play simplicity and a hitherto unachievable price point – less than a cost of one cadaver.

Designed to improve patient outcomes while combating the increasing cost of medical training that tops $15 billion annually in the U.S., Fundamental Surgery was created by a team of VR, haptic specialists and surgical training experts and has been extensively tested by over 500 surgeons.

Its initial U.S. offering will focus on training packages within the Orthopedic Surgical disciplines. Available to order today, current procedures supported include Spinal Pedicle Screw Placement, Posterior Hip Replacement and Total Knee Arthroplasty. Further orthopedic procedures will be added during Q4 2018 with other disciplines, including general surgery and cardiovascular slated for 2019.

Haptics For Humanity

Despite the massive advancements in science and medical technology, the way surgeons are trained has remained largely unchanged for the past 150 years. Typically, this consists of classroom-based theory, theatre-style viewing of cadaver-based teaching, observation in the operating room (generally far removed from the actual procedure), hands-on cadaver practice (expensive, limited use), closely monitored live patient involvement and increasingly YouTube.

The introduction of simulations to supplement learning is a recent development. However, current solutions either require special, static machinery that cost $100K+ or provide a game-like experience with no sense of touch. This means only 0.5% of the world’s surgeons have access to simulations.

“Our mission is to democratize surgical training by placing safe, affordable and authentic simulations within arm’s reach of every surgeon in the world,” said Richard Vincent, founder and CEO of FundamentalVR. “With the help of some of the top minds in medicine, as well some of the most advanced VR and haptic programmers, we have created a solution that can be deployed anywhere – with limited investment – to allow surgeons to learn and hone their skills over and over again in a safe and controlled environment.”

For the cost of just one cadaver, hospitals and medical training facilities across the country can now offer realistic training experiences for surgeons to hone their skills anywhere at any time.

How It Works

Fundamental Surgery eliminates the need for complex and expensive training systems. The software is hardware agnostic and works in conjunction with any modern PC or laptop, a standard VR headset and two haptic arm devices ­– all of which are widely available for purchase.

While other simulations are limited to visual and audio interactions, Fundamental Surgery takes it to a new level with SHIETM, its proprietary technology that adds a real-time sense of touch. Users can feel the movement and interaction of tissue, muscle and bone as they would in an actual procedure within a submillimeter of accuracy of resistance.

SHIETM contains a library of tools and tissue variants that mimic real life sensations that have been calibrated by a leading team of surgeons and KOLs. SHIETM continually adapts with feedback and is designed to work with new haptic devices such as new arms and gloves as they become commercially available at low cost.

During each simulation, users will be able to assess and measure performances and receive real-time feedback on instrument use and techniques (including pedicle probe, x-ray and sagittal saw), procedural accuracy and patient impact. This information will also be able to be stored for both the user and the admin control, allowing changes in competency to be tracked, so progress and areas for refinement can be identified.

In addition, the system will be able to be programed to present users with branched outcomes – rare complications or scenarios that can happen during live procedures such as unexpected bleeding, abnormal anatomy or a change in a patient’s condition. Just as pilots train for bird strikes or engine failure, this capability better prepares the surgeon and facilitates better patient outcomes. This unique feature can be selected or randomized to reflect life’s events.

Fundamental Surgery’s orthopedic simulation experiences are now available in the United States, with introductory prices starting at just $350 a month. For more information, please visit: www.fundamentalsurgery.com.

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ABOUT FUNDAMENTALVR

FundamentalVR is a technology company specialising in immersive experiences to enhance medical training. It has developed Fundamental Surgery as a SaaS platform featuring VR Haptics technology that takes advantage of readily available virtual reality hardware to create a simulation system that can be used on any modern PC set up – even a laptop. Fundamental Surgery gives healthcare professionals around the world access to authentic surgical simulations at low cost.

Imagine an opportunity to experience and train with authentic surgical experiences, within arms-reach…

That possibility is available now. Using a low-cost, compact plug-and-play platform which runs on everyday hardware. And a no-nonsense SaaS-based software licence.

Fundamental Surgery is powered by our proprietary Surgical Haptic Intelligence Engine ™. SHIE ™ technology generates incredibly authentic surgical touch experiences in VR.

So it feels like you are really doing surgery.

Fundamental Surgery VR simulations with haptics. Driving fundamental change in the world of medical training with virtual reality surgical simulations

It’s Fundamental Surgery’s unique combination of SHIE ™ technology with VR simulation that generates maximum immersion.

If you look to the future, it’s clear – surgical simulation will allow surgeons all over the world to practice their skills safety, conveniently and cost-effectively. Which has the potential to enhance technical skill, leading to improved patient outcomes.

VR is increasingly embraced as the most efficient and cost-effective method for surgical training. With so many offerings though, what sets the standards by which these can be measured, and evaluated?

So, obviously, there’s authenticity. Looking for simulation procedures that have been inspired and guided throughout by a panel of senior clinicians.

Then there’s the graphical quality of each procedure’s visualisation. The look, feel and sounds of a real OR.

But above all, it’s simulation haptics that feeds-back a tactile sense of bone, ligament, and tissue. The distinguishing characteristics of surgical tools. It delivers such an immersive sensation that it is possible to build genuine muscle-memory through practice.

That’s the unique combination of VR simulation and SHIE ™ technology that Fundamental Surgery delivers.

The link between simulation and improved surgical performance is well established (1), however, here at Fundamental Surgery, we estimate that less than half of one percent of surgeons currently have any day-to-day access to surgical simulation.

The problem lies not in justifying the value of such training techniques but in the high cost of the equipment plus accessibility and availability of the simulation machines for those wanting/needing to use them the most.

Fundamental Surgery provides a solution to this problem, offering high fidelity VR simulation combined with unique haptics (delivering the sense of touch), using affordable of-the-shelf hardware. Welcome to the democratization of surgical simulation.

Surgical advancements continue to accelerate across all disciplines and this continued environment of development puts pressure on the education and training systems. Surgeons needs more opportunity to practice and rehearse and the budgetary environment of all hospitals systems means this needs to be delivered at a relatively low unit cost. Quite simply, practice makes perfect and repetition fosters muscle memory. As Professor Bronek Boszczyk commented “training on the job with these techniques, is like learning to play an instrument within an orchestra”. The goal must be to give surgeons of all levels access to effective simulation that works with their schedules, to put quality simulation within arm’s reach of the clinical environment. Familiarity and practice can and will have an direct impact on improved patient outcomes.

Undoubtedly the inhibitor to adoption is one of cost. There is no doubt that every surgeon would like to have the ability to switch into a virtual OR and practice or learn new techniques but the cost of traditional solutions quickly escalates into high five or six figure sums. The result, very limited access. Most medical professionals can not gain access to a simulator quickly and may have to travel significant distances. What is needed is simulation within (or very close to) the clinical environment. It’s not a case of a hospital having ‘a’ simulator, there should be a number delivering a range of solutions to all medical staff when they want to access it. But to do this, they need to be cost effective.

The Fundamental Surgery platform offers a solution to this global challenge. By combining an immersive virtual reality and haptic software platform with low-cost, off-the-shelf hardware the opportunity for real change is now here. A system that could be fully operational for sub $20,000 (at least a fifth of the cost of most existing simulation solutions). Meaning that it’s both scalable and accessible, delivering high fidelity (touch, vision, sound) and fully immersive procedural simulation. Richard Vincent, CEO described Fundamental Surgery as a unique training tool, and said that the business objective was to put medical simulation training within arm’s reach of medical professionals around the world.

The US spends $15bn a year to train doctors, and yet there is still an obvious gap in medical simulation training being accessible to all. Fundamental Surgery provides scalable, low cost simulations which in the long run has the potential to create safer learning environments, and ultimately better patient outcomes. Welcome to the democratization of surgery.

(1) Cook DA, Hatala R, Brydges R, Zendejas B, Szostek JH, Wang AT, Erwin PJ, Hamstra SJ. JAMA. 2011 Sep 7;306(9):978-88. doi: 10.1001/jama.2011.1234. Review.

FundamentalVR were pleased to be invited to participate in the Global Education & Skills Forum during March 2018. Exploring the latest trends in education, how technology will positively impact them and providing hands on experience with our VR simulation system, Fundamental Surgery.

 

Young students exploring FundamentalSurgery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

George Osborne and Lord Gadhia meet the founders of FundamentalVR.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard Vincent, co-founder of FundamentalVR discussing the future of health education at GESF.

US Embassy London

We were pleased to be invited by the great team at the new US Embassy London to discuss FundamentalVR’s expansion into the US this week and meet with Ambassador Johnson (Woody). We look forward to the return visit to Washington as part of the SelectUSA programme in June.

UK ISCF Healthcare challenge

FundamentalVR are proud to announce their success in the Innovate UK ISCF Healthcare challenge. In collaboration with King’s College London the two organisation have successfully secured an innovate UK grant to support the development of their innovative VR & haptic surgical medical training system.

 

 

Listen to co-founder Chris Scattergood interviewed recently on the BBC World Service.