FH Upper AustriaResearch & Development

TIMed CENTER Center for Technological Innovation in Medicine

Research Projects

NeedleTutor

Result: Successful development of a hybrid simulator for the training of needle insertions into the spinal cord.


In cooperation with clinical partner institutions, this research group at the faculty in Linz developed and evaluated NeedleTutor, a hybrid simulator for needle insertions into the spinal cord. This simulator enables aspiring medical doctors to practice difficult surgical interventions. Another benefit of NeedleTutor is that it allows experienced surgeons to spend more time in the operating room, as they have to put less effort in teaching relevant skills to their medical assistants. 

This simulator, which may be used interdisciplinary, is a model- and a computer-based simulation system which combines the advantages of both aspects. The computer model visualizes anatomical structures in detail and simulates imaging procedures like fluoroscopy and computer tomography. Furthermore, an artificial replication of the human body, a so-called phantom, ensures a realistic feel of skin, bones and tissue. 

Both the position of the needle and the anatomic structures are tracked in real-time by means of an electro-magnetic navigation system. In addition to that, sensors and actuators like a pressure sensor and a miniature valve allow the objective measurement of relevant parameters. Based on their feedback, experts may analysize and assess the quality of a surgical intervention.

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