Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Engineering Science

Program

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Supervisor

Dr. Roy Eagleson

2nd Supervisor

Dr. Sandrine de Ribaupierre

Joint Supervisor

Abstract

The pervasiveness of simulators used in professions requiring the skilled control of expensive machinery such as is the case in the aviation, mining, construction, and naval industries raises an intriguing question about the relatively poor adoption within the field of medicine. Certain surgical procedures such as neuro-endoscopic and laparoscopic lend themselves well to the application of virtual reality based simulators. This is due to the innate ability to decom- pose these complex macro level procedures into a hierarchy of subtasks that can be modelled in a software simulator to augment existing teaching and training techniques.

The research in this thesis is focused with the design and implementation of a targeting- based simulator having applications in the evaluation of clinically relevant procedures within the neuro-endoscopic and potentially laparoscopic domains. Existing commercially available surgical simulators within these domains are often associated with being expensive, narrowly focussed in the skills they train, and fail to show statistically significant results in the efficacy of improving user performance through repeated use.

Development of a targeting tasks simulator is used to evaluate what methods can be applied to provide a robust, objective measure of human performance as it relates to targeting tasks. In addition to performance evaluation, further research is conducted to help understand the impact of different input modalities; focusing primarily on input from a gamepad style device and as well a newer, more natural user interface provided by the Leap Motion Controller.