This simulator gives the user a virtual experience of using a bronchoscope to navigate a human airway and experience force-feedback when the scope makes contact with flesh. Objectives include developing psychomotor and cognitive skills by learning to navigate through the airway with minimal discomfort and injury to the virtual patient, and being able to identify anatomy within the throat, upper airway and bronchi. This will ensure that the user is trained and assessed sufficiently before encountering a real patient for the first time. The simulation runs on Microsoft’s XBOX XNA platform, and can be operated with both the XBOX standard controller and a custom-made hardware controller created by our team.
1) No simulator was able to create an accurate feeling of force-feedback when anatomy was approached/grazed.
2) No simulator had high resolution graphics for accurate identification of various sub-anatomical regions.
In order to create anatomically accurate high resolution graphics, we started by finding average adult airway measurements in Gray’s Anatomy, the bible for anatomical proportions. To gather a sense of three dimensional proportions, we looked at human and sheep cadavers as reference. To visualize what living and breathing airways look like, we observed pulmonary procedures in-person, and simultaneously captured video footage from the bronchoscope camera. The 3D mesh, animation, texture and wetness (specularity) were generated from an averaging of all these references.