Inovus Medical, a leading designer and manufacturer of medical and surgical simulators, announced this week that development of their revolutionary Augmented Reality laparoscopic simulator is to gather pace after securing a £1 million product development contract through SBRI Healthcare, funded by NHS England.
The technology, which is set to democratise access to highly realistic, affordable laparoscopic simulation, began development in 2018 thanks to an initial £100,000 SBRI phase one contract. Having successfully developed a functional beta product, and following presentation of the technology to the SBRI Healthcare panel earlier this year, Inovus has been awarded phase two funding to allow them to complete development of a commercially ready offering. The contract was awarded in the technology in surgery category of SBRI Healthcare’s £5.56 million funding round in which there was a focus on improving preoperative surgical simulation.
The company has used a novel approach to develop what it calls ‘functional Augmented Reality’ by merging real feel soft tissue models with digital anatomy and ensuring seamless interaction between both the digital and real environments. The company has developed a proprietary method for triggering and managing intraoperative complications such as bleeding vessels and bowel perforations. The technology also allows tracking of decision making and tracking surgical performance combined with an online portfolio to show progression in skill over time.
As pioneers of the ‘take home laparoscopic simulator’ Inovus has developed their newest technology with their three core values of affordability, accessibility and functionality in mind. The project will see the launch of a suite of simulators in early 2020 that offer improved realism in haptic feedback and immersion at a fraction of the cost of existing ‘high fidelity’ virtual reality simulators; truly democratising access to realistic laparoscopic simulation.
Inovus Medical CEO, Dr Elliot Street, said
“There is a growing disconnect between the increasing demands for trainee surgeons to demonstrate surgical proficiencies in the simulated environment, and ready access to realistic simulators to do this. The AR simulators we are developing are the perfect solution to that unmet need. We are extremely grateful to SBRI Healthcare for supporting our vision on this project and are excited to deliver a successful second phase over the coming months.”
Professor Tony Young OBE, National Clinical Lead for Innovation at NHS England and NHS Improvement said:
“The fusion of virtual reality with keyhole surgical simulators represents the next step in how we train surgeons and the Pyxus-AR from Inovus is leading the way in this field. The SBRI award recognizes the cutting edge nature of this technology and I am delighted that this has arisen from one of our NHS Clinical Entrepreneurs, Dr. Elliot Street. Innovations like this can help us transform medical education and training and equip the NHS workforce with the skills and knowledge they need to deliver high quality patient care.”
This work was commissioned and funded by the SBRI Healthcare programme. SBRI Healthcare is an NHS England initiative, championed by the Academic Health Scienbec Networks (AHSNs). The views expressed in this release are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the SBRI Healthcare programme or its stakeholders.
Inovus Ltd, Unit 14 Wharton Street, Sherdley Road Industrial Estate, St Helens WA9 5AA