Enhancing Situational Awareness And Kinesthetic Assistance For Clinicians Via Augmented-Reality And Haptic Shared-Control Technologies

Intraoperative situational awareness is critical for clinicians when performing complex surgeries and therapies. Augmented-reality (AR) and haptic virtual fixtures (VF) technologies can be used to increase situational awareness while still keeping the surgeon in the loop. These two technologies can be used independently or together to provide various levels of assistance. 3D AR technologies provide enhanced visual feedback for the clinician, for instance, giving them the ability to “see” surgical instruments inside of tissue. Robotic assistant devices with haptic VF provide physical resistance or assistance in real-time for the clinician. Haptic VF systems can be used to enforce “no-fly zones” with varying degrees of resistance to allow the clinician to avoid damaging sensitive tissue. The assistance provided by haptic VF systems can reduce the strain on a clinician when performing a lengthy surgery, can move the surgical tool to compensate for changes in patient pose, and can increase the precision with which a clinician can perform various surgical tasks.