The results from the evaluation of VerroTouch, a simple unobtrusive device that could be used to provide mechanical and audio responses was highlighted by McMahan et al from the University of Pennsylvania. The VerroTouch attaches to the nonsterile segment of the robotic arm and transmits vibratory changes in the robotic instruments as direct mechanical vibration to the surgical hand control or as an auditory response to the surgeon. There is no need to sterilize the device and the transmitter at the surgical console is small and barely noticeable.
In their study, 11 surgeons of various skill levels utilized the device while performing tasks in a training model. The researchers noted that while the VerroTouch did not significantly improve the speed, accuracy and the force in which the tasks were performed, there was a significant improvement in the perceived attention to the instruments with both audio and visual feedback when compared to visual feedback alone. This device, as well as a number of other devices, is making the concept of robotic haptic feedback more of a reality, although further studies are needed.
Presented by William McMahan, et al. at the American Urological Association (AUA) Annual Meeting - May 14 - 19, 2011 - Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC USA
Reported for UroToday by Phillip Mucksavage, MD, Department of Urology, University of California, Irvine.