Thanks to the advances of voltage regulator (VR) technologies and haptic systems, virtual simulators are increasingly becoming a viable alternative to physical simulators in medicine and surgery, though many challenges still remain. In this study, a pervasive visual–haptic framework aimed to the training of obstetricians and midwives to vaginal delivery is described. The haptic feedback is provided by means of two hand-based haptic devices able to reproduce force-feedbacks on fingers and arms, thus enabling a much more realistic manipulation respect to stilus-based solutions. The interactive simulation is not solely driven by an approximated model of complex forces and physical constraints but, instead, is approached by a formal modeling of the whole labor and of the assistance/intervention procedures performed by means of a timed automata network and applied to a parametrical 3-D model of the anatomy, able to mimic a wide range of configurations. This novel methodology is able to represent not only the sequence of the main events associated to either a spontaneous or to an operative childbirth process, but also to help in validating the manual intervention as the actions performed by the user during the simulation are evaluated according to established medical guidelines. A discussion on the first results as well as on the challenges still unaddressed is included.
|Journal||IEEE Transactions on Information Technology in Biomedicine|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|