The objective of the simulator was to allow the instructor to load a fluoroscopic video file of a catheter procedure and design a path for the catheter that the students must try to navigate. For both the design of the catheter path and the navigation we have used the PHANToM Omni haptic device from SensAble technologies. A haptic device is a one capable of applying forces on the user via actuation of motors. The Omni can output forces in 3 directions ( 3DoF) and it can sense movement in 6 directions (6DoF).
The instructor should first design the catheter path with the help of the phantom device. The path is composed of many ‘tubes’ that can be placed in appropriate locations. Figure 6 shows how this is accomplished.
After the catheter path has been designed it is handed over to the student who must now navigate this path using a combination of rotations and translations. These rotations and translations are performed on the Omni haptic device. A snapshot of the screen during the training is shown in Figure 6. The student also has the option of a red ‘guiding line’ to help him navigate the path designed by the instructor. In case the student makes an error in navigating the catheter along the path. The graphics will not show a forward movement of the catheter. In addition the haptic device also generates a resistive force similar to that of friction (called stick slip friction in haptic literature) to oppose further movement of the catheter. The catheter has to be subsequently realigned.