Development of virtual-reality medical applications is usually a complicated and labour intensive task. This paper explores the feasibility of using commodity physics engine to develop a suturing simulator prototype for manual skills training in the fields of nursing and medicine, so as to enjoy the benefits of rapid development and hardware-accelerated computation. In the prototype, spring-connected boxes of finite dimension are used to simulate soft tissues, whereas needle and thread are modelled with chained segments. Spherical joints are used to simulate suture’s flexibility and to facilitate thread cutting. An algorithm is developed to simulate needle insertion and thread advancement through the tissue. Two-handed manipulations and force feedback are enabled with two haptic devices. Experiments on the closure of a wound show that the prototype is able to simulate suturing procedures at interactive rates. The simulator is also used to study a curvature-adaptive suture modelling technique. Issues and limitations of the proposed approach and future development are discussed.
- K.S. Choi, S.H. Chan, W.M. Pang. Virtual suturing simulation based on commodity physics engine for medical learning. Journal of Medical Systems, vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 1781-1793, 2012. [Springer]