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System overview

Haptic Avatar is a collection of interface devices and equipment that  can be combined to implement many kinds of simulator training setups. The focus is currently on medical applications for laparoscopic, thoracoscopic and arthroscopic virtual reality training, but the family of haptic interface devices is growing. Read more about our products below.


A Port is a haptic device that can receive a representation of a laparoscopic Tool, track its motion and provide force feedback to it. It has a trocar like part in which a representation of a laparoscopic instrument (a Tool) is inserted. The Tool is identified upon insertion.

One or many Ports can be used to setup the desired training task or procedure. Each port represents an access point in the simulation. The Ports are populated on a Frame structure that gives them a position that corresponds to the real position.

The Ports are connected with a USB-cable, typically to a USB-hub, which is then connected to the simulation PC. Up to 6 ports can be used in a simulation.


The Ports are self-powered with batteries, which are charged via the USB-hub.



A Tool is the simulators representation of a real surgical instrument and which the trainee manipulates. It consists of a Handle and a Shaft, which are mated together. The shaft has a color that represents its identity, and the Port will read the identity upon insertion. There are currently five different handle types, and the idea is that the simulation can be programmed to have a virtual representation in the simulation. When a tool is inserted and identified in a Port,  the simulation program can let the corresponding virtual instrument appear in the portal corresponding to the Port position.  


An instrument box - or an Ibox - is a controller box for some of the tools, typically tools with a handle, like e.g. a grasper or a needle driver. Six tools can be connected to one Ibox, which will track the motion of handle and provide force feedback to Tools that has motors. Also, a footswitch pedal can be connected to the Ibox. Just like the Port, the Ibox communicates via USB and the batteries are charged from USB.



Structures are used to create the a physical training system. The Ports are populated on a structure, which gives them positions in the "real" world, which to some extent need to correspond to the access points in the virtual world. Follou offers a couple of generic structures to implement a workstation or a manikin base, but a structure can be also be tailored for a specific application. Follou is able to assist and guide you in your own structure design, or design and build it for you.


Do you miss something ?

Do not hesitate to contact us if you want a customized solution. We can modify our existing tools or develop additional tools to fit your needs. We cut the instrument shafts to lengths that fits your application. We can modify a more complex real surgical tool such as e.g. a stapler, put sensors, switches, communication and control logic in it, and adapt its shaft to fit the Haptic Avatar Port. We help you choose or develop suitable rigid or flexible structures. If you need drivers to your favourite simulation/physics engine, we build plugins. We are even able to develop customized haptic devices ranging from a single motor up to six axis haptic devices.

As you might expect already, the Haptic Avatar system is highly modularized and tailoring your system is therefore part of our offer. 

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