A New Highly Portable Simulator (SECMA) Based on Virtual Reality for Teaching Essential Skills in Minimally Invasive Surgeries





Virtual Reality Simulator for education, surgical simulation, simulation training, minimally invasive surgery


This study presents a new minimal access surgery training system, SECMA, and its constructive validation to determine its usefulness for training basic laparoscopic skills. SECMA is an affordable, highly portable, mobile virtual reality training tool for laparoscopic techniques that integrates the Oculus Quest with a mechanical interface for surgeon simulation of forceps using the hand controllers of these devices. It allows the execution of structured activities (supported by virtual scenarios simulating operating rooms developed in Unity), performance evaluation, and real-time data capture. Two experiments were carried out: 1) coordination; and 2) capture and transport, with a total of 21 individuals divided into two groups: a novice group (inexperienced) of 10 participants and an expert group (>100 endoscopic procedures) of 11 participants. Total task time score, right-hand speed, path length, and other metrics from several consecutive runs on the simulator were compared between experts and novices. Data automatically recorded by SECMA during the experiments were analyzed using hypothesis tests, linear regressions, analysis of variance, principal component analysis, and machine learning-supervised classifiers. In the experiments, the experts scored significantly better than the novices in all the parameters used. The tasks evaluated discriminated between the skills of experienced and novice surgeons, giving the first indication of construct validity for SECMA.

Author Biographies

José Ignacio Guzmán, Universidad del Desarrollo

José Ignacio Guzman is a mechanic engineer with a master's degree in computer science, applied to engineering, and a Ph.D. in technical sciences. He is a director of the Extended Reality Research Group at the Research Center for Technologies for Society at the Universidad del Desarrollo (UDD) in Chile, creating technological solutions based on virtual and augmented reality. He is also a professor and teaches tridimensional computer graphics and the development of simulations using game engines.

Mauricio Herrera, Universidad del Desarrollo

Mauricio Herrera is a physicist, Master in Physics and Mathematics from Odessa State University, Ph.D. at the University of Chile, with a postdoc at Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel. He is an Associate Professor and Director of Basic Sciences at the Faculty of Engineering of the Universidad del Desarrollo (UDD) in Chile. He uses data-driven modeling, data science, machine learning, and complex networks to study various problems in complex systems.

Camilo Rodríguez Beltrán, Universidad del Desarrollo

Camilo Rodríguez Beltrán is currently an associate professor and head of innovation at the School of Engineering at the Universidad del Desarrollo (UDD) in Chile. He is also the director of the Research Center in Technologies for Society (C+) where he currently leads the Enviro-health Dynamics and the Modular Diagnostics research groups with particular focus on the development of novel tools for environmental and health monitoring systems




How to Cite

Guzmán, J. I., Herrera, M., & Rodríguez Beltrán, C. (2023). A New Highly Portable Simulator (SECMA) Based on Virtual Reality for Teaching Essential Skills in Minimally Invasive Surgeries. International Journal of Online and Biomedical Engineering (iJOE), 19(13), pp. 38–53. https://doi.org/10.3991/ijoe.v19i13.40897