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Ear Doctors to Benefit from New 3-D Training Simulator

Oticon Foundation Funds Innovative Training Software for Virtual Temporal Bone Surgery

The Oticon Foundation recently funded development of surgical simulation software for the “Visible Ear Simulator 1.1,” an innovative 3D virtual tactile simulator that will enable surgeons to train in soft tissue and drilling procedures in the temporal bone.  Now at the research level, the software (version 2.0) is designed to provide virtual learning scenarios that facilitate hands-on training in temporal bone surgical procedures, such as those used in surgery for hearing implant solutions including bone anchored hearing systems and cochlear implants. The initiator of the project Dr. Mads Sølvsten Sørensen and his team partnered with Peter Trier, a computer scientist with the Alexandra Institute, to create the software’s dataset of more than 500 high-resolution images by cryo-sectioning a fresh frozen cadaver specimen.

Prior to the development of the virtual simulation technology, surgical training in temporal bone surgery was conducted on human skull cadavers, a limited resource that also limited training opportunities.  “The Oticon Foundation recognized that development of a tactile simulator would increase opportunities for postgraduate surgeons and resident trainees to gain dexterity, experience and knowledge of delicate soft tissue and drilling procedures, a benefit for both the physician and the patient,” said Oticon Medical General Manager Jes Olsen.

Olsen noted that future applications of the software may include customized training modules that allow surgeons to train in specialized procedures for specific products.

Xiaowen Huang MD & ENT-HNS of Dept. of ENTHNS, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology has translated a Chinese-language version of the software prototype for use by surgeons in China. To facilitate training with the prototype software, a tactical simulator, a haptic device that allows users to touch and manipulate virtual objects, has been donated to the Tongji Hospital. This donation has been made possible via the funding from the Oticon Foundation.

For more information and to obtain a free download of the simulator software, visit the Visible Ear Simulator Homepage at http://ves.cg.alexandra.dk.

Source: Oticon, Inc.

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