A virtual pointer to support the adoption of professional vision in laparoscopic training

Yuanyuan Feng, Hannah McGowan, Azin Semsar, Hamid R. Zahiri, Ivan M. George, Timothy Turner, Adrian Park, Andrea Kleinsmith, Helena M. Mentis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: To assess a virtual pointer in supporting surgical trainees’ development of professional vision in laparoscopic surgery. Methods: We developed a virtual pointing and telestration system utilizing the Microsoft Kinect movement sensor as an overlay for any imagine system. Training with the application was compared to a standard condition, i.e., verbal instruction with un-mediated gestures, in a laparoscopic training environment. Seven trainees performed four simulated laparoscopic tasks guided by an experienced surgeon as the trainer. Trainee performance was subjectively assessed by the trainee and trainer, and objectively measured by number of errors, time to task completion, and economy of movement. Results: No significant differences in errors and time to task completion were obtained between virtual pointer and standard conditions. Economy of movement in the non-dominant hand was significantly improved when using virtual pointer (p= 0.012). The trainers perceived a significant improvement in trainee performance in virtual pointer condition (p< 0.001), while the trainees perceived no difference. The trainers’ perception of economy of movement was similar between the two conditions in the initial three runs and became significantly improved in virtual pointer condition in the fourth run (p= 0.017). Conclusions: Results show that the virtual pointer system improves the trainer’s perception of trainee’s performance and this is reflected in the objective performance measures in the third and fourth training runs. The benefit of a virtual pointing and telestration system may be perceived by the trainers early on in training, but this is not evident in objective trainee performance until further mastery has been attained. In addition, the performance improvement of economy of motion specifically shows that the virtual pointer improves the adoption of professional vision— improved ability to see and use laparoscopic video results in more direct instrument movement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1463-1472
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Economy of movement
  • Expert knowledge
  • Gestural sensing
  • Kinect
  • Laparoscopic surgery
  • Professional vision
  • Surgical training
  • Virtual pointing and telestration system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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