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SimQuest Develops World's First Platform for Open Surgical Simulation

SILVER SPRING, Md., March 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- SimQuest LLC, a leading developer of technology-assisted education and training, has developed the first platform for open-incision surgical simulation, which will enable surgeons to practice open surgical techniques with no risk to patients. The platform will allow surgeons to practice their skills in an environment that allows for errors and provide objective feedback on performance.

This is an important step forward in surgical training because open surgery still accounts for the overwhelming majority of all operations performed in the United States despite advances in laparoscopic/minimally invasive surgery (MIS). Further, the current generation of simulators falls far short of providing adequate open surgical training. Simulation of open-incision surgery is significantly more difficult than simulating (MIS) because the surgical field and breadth of possible actions for open surgery is considerably more diverse than for MIS.

SimQuest developed three important elements of the open-incision surgical simulation platform with funding from the National Institute of Standards and Technology Advanced Technology Program (NIST ATP) including simulation that allows for physically precise real-time behavior of tissue; the Open Surgery Haptic Device, a seven degree-of-freedom (7DOF) haptics interface; and a tool chain similar to those used in computer games, which enables surgical simulation training case scenarios and other content to be created by teachers and trainers.

The NIST program enabled SimQuest to produce unique technology that will enable real-time immersive virtual reality simulation of open surgical procedures to become a cost-effective reality for both training and surgical rehearsal. These technologies will have a dramatic impact upon future generations of healthcare practitioners by increasing patient safety; reducing reliance on live tissue training (human and animal); and enhancing the efficiency, effectiveness, and objectivity of training.

"SimQuest's open surgical simulation platform will provide realistic force and torque feedback to students' hands as they manipulate the surgical tools and materials, and will supply physically correct responses to both right and wrong actions," said Dwight Meglan, PhD, SimQuest's Chief Technology Officer. "This will enable students to learn from their mistakes and gain the practice they need to perform well prior to working on real patients, thus minimizing the risk of errors."

"Given the challenges facing surgical training today, which include reduced numbers of training hours, less hands-on practice, and the demand for objective proof of proficiency and low risk of errors," stated SimQuest CEO Howard Champion, MD, "the NIST investment has created a capability and potential product that is both timely and of great societal value." This R&D initiative continues with funding from NIH and the Department of Defense.

About SimQuest

SimQuest, founded in 2001 by surgeon and surgical educator Howard Champion, MD, is a technology-assisted education and training company that creates tools for healthcare professionals to develop and perfect their skills without risk to patients and to maximize their decision making capabilities for patient care. The company's goal is to provide advanced medical simulators and training programs that embody the state-of-the-art in simulation and adult learning techniques. To this end, SimQuest's medical professionals and simulation experts—who have pioneered many of the top-selling simulators worldwide—are developing new technology, integrating existing programs, and teaming with strategic partners (including NIH, NSF, and the US Army) to revolutionize how healthcare is taught. For more information, please visit SimQuest at


Bob Waddington
SimQuest, LLC

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