This project lies within the scope of the Paraendoscopic Intuitive Computer assisted Operating system (PICO), a European project designed to promote endoscopic neurosurgery. This project proposes a neurosurgical system consisting of a holding device for the endoscope, an ergonomic human interface for remote control, a set of specially adapted micro instruments and a suitably adapted stereo endoscope. A consortium of thirteen companies and research facilities contribute to the project bringing the necessary knowledge, technology and resources to build this system.
Figure 1: The pico user interface
The role of the VRAI group (EPFL) in the PICO project is to provide a multimodal user interface for the surgeon. It should allow interaction both with the endoscope holder and the surrounding cameras. It will also allow visualization and capture of data.
Multimodal interaction provides the user with multiple modes of interacting with an interface beyond the traditional keyboard and mouse. As the surgeon works in a sterile environment and in order to make the interaction with the interface as natural as possible, the surgeon should be able to interact with the interface by voice and gestures.
Figure 2: The pico devices
The PICO user interface is based on a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), meaning that it uses services technology and distributed programming to provide users with different modes of interaction. These technologies include web services and CORBA.
The program has been modified to support the actual hardware used in the future system; a high resolution camera for the endoscope and the robot controller. The interface now responds to the PICO requirements and can be integrated into the PICO system. It was presented at the PICO project status seminar held in Stuttgart, July 2006 and will be tested shortly by the concerned neurosurgeons.