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Haptics in Clinical Settings

Illustration of clinical drawing

In healthcare, multi-disciplinary team meetings (MDTMs) are becoming the preferred way of working. In those meetings specialists from different clinical disciplines meet and review patient cases, establish a diagnosis and disease stage, and decide on the appropriate treatment. It has been shown that these kinds of MDTMs increase patient safety and improve processes and outcomes of care. This emphasises the need for the specialists to meet and discuss the patients’ conditions before an operation.

In the pre-operative meetings strategies are decided for next week’s operations. Several types of information about patients are used as a base for the discussion at these meetings, for example CT, MRI and ultra sound images that are projected on screens. We argue that deictic references are essential in order for the surgeons and radiologists in such meetings to get a common ground regarding the patient data. To support that, an application with haptic feedback has been designed, informed by a study of pointing behavior in the MDTMs. The application allow surgeons to point at and feel the anatomical structure of blood vessels as well as tumours and the distances between them as if it was a real physical model of the anatomical structure.

Video: 3D haptic anatomical structure of blood vessels as well as the tumour in a liver.


  • Kristina Groth, Karolinska University Hospital
  • Eva-Lotta Sallnäs Pysander, Professor at Royal Institute of Technology
  • Jonas Moll, Assistant Professor at Örebro University
  • Jonas Forsslund, PhD Royal Institute of Technology
  • Oscar Frykholm, PhD Royal Instituite of Technology