New Realistic ‘Mikoto’ 3D Printed Medical Simulator Robot Developed in Japan

Realistic 'Mikoto' 3D printed medical training robot developed in Tottori, Japan

Another new healthcare simulation manikin, this time out of Japan, as reported by 3D printer and 3D printing news website 3ders.org, which focuses primarily on endotracheal intubation, gastrointestinal endoscopy, and sputum suctioning. The new device was a collaborative project between Tmsuk R&D Inc., a medical venture firm based in Tottori Prefecture and the Tottori University Hospital in Japan.

Mikoto, which is the Japanese word for “life,” is an extremely lifelike medical simulation robot that was specifically developed to help train young doctors, medical students, and emergency care workers. Not only does the 3D printed robot look and feel real, it is also equipped with special sensors that allow it to give real-time feedback to trainees—in the form of saying “ouch” and gagging. At first glance, it’s easy to mistake the robot for a real boy, as all of its features are uncannily lifelike. Even its interiors are anatomically accurate, as its tongue, esophagus, and windpipe were all based on a patient’s actual organs. In making the simulation robot, the Tmsuk team transformed digital images of the patient’s organs into 3D printed models.

As we’ve seen, the medical sector is turning increasingly towards realistic 3D printed models to train surgeons and simulate medical procedures. In Japan, where most medical learning is still done through textbooks, simulations are also gaining in popularity, as they offer hands-on experience and training, though the simulation models are still relatively limited in their scope. That is, while many medical schools and hospitals are equipped with simulation centers, many of the current training devices and “dolls” are much more rigid than real patients, which creates a discrepancy between what doctors are trained to do and what they actually do when they encounter a real patient.


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Dr. Toshiya Nakano, a neurologist at the University of Tottori’s faculty of medicine, added: “Young doctors used to learn the ropes gradually by observing senior doctors at work and then trying their hand at operating on actual patients. Such styles of training are no longer acceptable. Ensuring patient safety is a top concern.”

The new Mikoto robot thus marks a remarkable step forward for medical simulation equipment. Mikoto is not designed for all types of simulations, however, but is built for three main procedures: endotracheal intubation (a process wherein a patient’s airway is forced open by a tube in the windpipe), gastrointestinal endoscopy (where internal organs are checked using a flexible fiber-optic camera tube), and sputum suctioning. As mentioned, Mikoto is equipped with various sensors which can alert users if they are putting too much pressure on the robot, or if they are choking it. At the end of the simulation, the 3D printed robot also issues a score for the simulation, which is based on data obtained through the sensors as well as the length of the procedure.


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Polhemus Brings Micro Sensor Motion Tracking to Healthcare Simulation

micro sensor motion tracking

Do you believe that one day we will be able to learn from masters simply by copying their hand motions in real-time VR? Polhemus has made this reality one step closer with advanced motion capturing with micro sensors. Are you building a medical simulator? Consider the benefits that Polhemus motion tracking could bring your product:

Developed for a recently released VR cardiac catheterization training simulator, Polhemus’ MicroSensor 1.8 was up to the task of tracking Julian Gray’s amazing finger work. With applications in biomechanics, rehabilitation, virtual reality and more, the MicroSensor 1.8 is extending Polhemus’ leadership in high fidelity motion tracking.

Hand and finger tracking is achieved in real time, with Polhemus Micro Sensors 1.8. Polhemus motion tracking is high fidelity and robust, tracking the quick fingers of a skilled guitarist. Tiny, lightweight sensors attach easily with custom Micro Mounts. Using our LIBERTY tracking system, the complex finger and hand motions are easily tracked at an update rate of 240 Hz per sensor, with virtually no latency, and using no cameras.

The possibilities for Polhemus motion tracking in medical simulation are clear!

Polhemus White Paper: Selecting Motion Trackers When Designing Medical Simulators

polhemus motion tracker

For those who design simulators a unique post today: a white paper from Polhemus covering the optimal way to select a motion tracker for your medical simulator. Gear heads, sim techs, product designers and engineers will love this document!

About Polhemus:

Polhemus is known as the true pioneer and leader in the motion tracking industry, first introducing our proprietary electromagnetic technology in 1969. Although Polhemus motion tracking products are currently used in a broad range of applications, the initial product was developed for pilots, when we introduced head tracking for the military–which we still do today.

After releasing our break-through technology and gaining high achievements with the military, Polhemus began to branch out in the 1980’s—adding commercial applications like motion capture for animation and 3D Digitizing for movie special effects. We made our mark in this area, and our technology was used in numerous blockbuster Hollywood movies over the years. In 1995, Polhemus engineers were honored to receive an Academy Award in the area of Technical Achievement for the 3 Space Digitizing System.

In the 1990’s, we built upon our reputable legacy of motion tracking and expanded our product line–successfully adding eye tracking and 3D laser scanning to our portfolio. These additions paved the way for entering new markets, and Polhemus became known more broadly as the trusted, reliable source for motion measurement tracking technology. With this expansion, Polhemus evolved and focused efforts in the Research and Technology, Health Care, and Military markets. Over the years, one thing has remained the same—an ability to innovate and produce new solutions in high-fidelity motion measurement tracking.

About the White Paper:

A motion tracker is a critical component in many of today’s medical training simulators. Choosing the right tracker can help ensure a high fidelity simulator that is cost effective, reliable and easy to use. Choosing the wrong system can lead to increased development costs, reduced fidelity, high cost of ownership for customers, and potentially, failure in the market. Included in this document are lessons learned from over 40 years in providing motion trackers to military, industrial and medical training simulator manufacturers.

One of the challenges in developing effective medical training simulators is creating a user interface that is as real as the real thing. To achieve a high level of fidelity, a simulator designed to train a specific procedure should have an interface that is indistinguishable from the real thing. Motion tracking sensors are often a fundamental part of the user interface and are the link between the physical world and the computer generated virtual or simulated world. They measure, for example, the insertion path of an intubation tube, and feed that info to the simulator’s computer. But the sensors should not change the look, feel, or weight of the instruments or devices being handled by the student. In this example, an optical tracker would be a poor choice, as intubation tubes do not have reflective markers attached.

Another challenge is that many of the movements being measured are free form, rather than in a fixed linear direction, such as that of aileron pedals in an aircraft cockpit simulator. The motions of an ultrasound probe during an examination are anything but linear, and in fact are often rotating as well. This requires 6DOF (six degrees of freedom) tracking, measuring both position (x, y, z) and orientation (azimuth, pitch and roll). Many motion tracking technologies only offer 3DOF, either measuring position or orientation, but not both.

And finally, many of the medical procedures targeted for simulation training require the tracking of an instrument or device for which there is no line-of-sight. This precludes the use of optical or video tracking. Line-of-sight can be blocked by the movement of medical staff, or because the instrument or device being tracked is inserted into a mannequin. Transvaginal ultrasound and catheterization are good examples.

Read the full White Paper on Medical Simulation Motion Trackers here and then visit the Polhemus Website to learn more!


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SSH “Pioneer in Simulation” Award to Dr. Michael Gordon & Opening Plenary by Dr. Kardong-Edgren

ssh pioneer in simulation award

“As a leader in the field, Dr. Michael Gordon has inspired others to dream more, to do more, to learn more, and the become more.”
– Professor Ronald Harden.

Dr. Michael S. Gordon received the Pioneer in Simulation Award this morning at the 15th annual International Meeting for Simulation in Healthcare for his work to create the Harvey Auscultation Manikin, a ground breaking project which enabled for the effective teaching of medical residents through simulation. Through a wonderful video, the audience was toured through Dr. Gordon’s 50 year history which should be made available online soon, which shared his story of perseverance that lead to the Michael S. Gordon Center for Research in Medical Simulation at the University of Miami, funded mostly by patient donors.

Early in his professional career, Dr. Gordon recognized the benefits that technology could bring to primary care, especially to help them better identify heart disease in their patients.

Dr. Gordon suggested “People felt that the Harvey would make Medical Doctors less friendly to patients because the computerized machines didn’t respond. Dr. Gordon’s did a study and found the opposite was true, patients were as satisfied or more by medical professionals who studied with Harvey. Simulators were a valid way to teach people”. SSH knows, its because of Pioneers like him

He provided the audience some major recommendations including:

  1. The Dean must love you.
  2. Secure and keep the consideration for Funds high so your program doesn’t run out of money.
  3. You can further if you go together. You can go faster if you go along. Open doors.
  4. Everything comes down to perseverance. You win because you stay with the program.

Dr. Gordon took the stage to thank the audience for the award and thanked the audience for making simulation appreciate a Global Audience saying “Tell me with whom you walk and I will tell you who you are”. He attributed his success to the family at the center. including Dr. Barry Issenberg. Could never have done what You’ve made my dreams come true, because now I will claim I will walk with you.

The morning then moved to the Opening Plenary by Dr. Suzie Kardon-Edgren PhD, RN, ANEF, CHSE Professor/Director of the Rise Center of RMU and Adjunct Associate Professor at Drexel University’s Medical Simulation program. Suzie started by reminding us that the “Gozilla” of simulation in coming, and its going to win! Dr. Kardon-Edgren went on to showcase the history of medical simulation through pioneer individuals, organizations, journals and more. The number of medical simulation articles continues to grow since the 1970s, reaching 1700 in 2012.

The work that has been accomplished has made simulation have a “New normal”. Indeed each year we expand simulation moves the bar for where we can start from in simulation, furthering where we can all go together.

Follow #IMSH2015 for more great Medical Simulation news from the event in New Orleans!

Gaumard to unveil new Full Body Surgical Simulator at IMSH 2012

Next week Gaumard is unveiling their new manikin model “Chloe”, a full body surgical simulator.  HealthySimulation.com will be sure to be there to check out this ground-breaking new medical simulator!

Gaumard full body surgical sim

If you are attending IMSH, check out the The Surgical Chloe Full Body Simulator New Technology Demonstration flyer to enroll today!


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