Surgical soundtracks: automatic acoustic augmentation of surgical procedures

  • Sasan MatinfarEmail author
  • M. Ali Nasseri
  • Ulrich Eck
  • Michael Kowalsky
  • Hessam Roodaki
  • Navid Navab
  • Chris P. Lohmann
  • Mathias Maier
  • Nassir Navab
Original Article



Advances in sensing and digitalization enable us to acquire and present various heterogeneous datasets to enhance clinical decisions. Visual feedback is the dominant way of conveying such information. However, environments rich with many sources of information all presented through the same channel pose the risk of over stimulation and missing crucial information. The augmentation of the cognitive field by additional perceptual modalities such as sound is a workaround to this problem. A major challenge in auditory augmentation is the automatic generation of pleasant and ergonomic audio in complex routines, as opposed to overly simplistic feedback, to avoid alarm fatigue.


In this work, without loss of generality to other procedures, we propose a method for aural augmentation of medical procedures via automatic modification of musical pieces.


Evaluations of this concept regarding recognizability of the conveyed information along with qualitative aesthetics show the potential of our method.


In this paper, we proposed a novel sonification method for automatic musical augmentation of tasks within surgical procedures. Our experimental results suggest that these augmentations are aesthetically pleasing and have the potential to successfully convey useful information. This work opens a path for advanced sonification techniques in the operating room, in order to complement traditional visual displays and convey information more efficiently.


Computer-assisted interventions Auditory display Surgical sonification Medical augmented reality Acoustic augmentation Psychoacoustics 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

There is no study presented in this paper which requires ethical approval.

Informed consent

This articles does not contain patient data.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (mp4 13361 KB)


  1. 1.
    Robineau F, Boy F, Orliaguet J-P, Demongeot J, Payan Y (2007) Guiding the surgical gesture using an electro-tactile stimulus array on the tongue: a feasibility study. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 54(4):711–717CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bluteau J, Dubois M-D, Coquillart S, Gentaz E, Payan Y (2010) Vibrotactile guidance for trajectory following in computer aided surgery. In: Engineering in medicine and biology society (EMBC), 2010 annual international conference of the IEEE, pp 2085–2088. IEEEGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Howard T, Szewczyk J (2016) Improving precision in navigating laparoscopic surgery instruments toward a planar target using haptic and visual feedback. Front Robot AI 3:37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Howard T, Szewczyk J (2014) Visuo-haptic feedback for 1-d guidance in laparoscopic surgery. In: Biomedical robotics and biomechatronics, 2014 5th IEEE RAS & EMBS International Conference on, IEEE, pp 58–65Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kestin IG, Miller BR, Lockhart CH (1988) Auditory alarms during anesthesia monitoring. Anesthesiol J Am Soc Anesthesiol 69(1):106–108Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Matinfar S, Nasseri MA, Eck U, Roodaki H, Navab N, Lohmann CP, Maier M, Navab N (2017) Surgical Soundtracks: towards automatic musical augmentation of surgical procedures. In: International conference on medical image computing and computer-assisted intervention. Springer, Cham, pp 673–681Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hermann T, Hunt A (2011) The sonification handbook. In: Neuhoff JG (ed) Logos Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ullmann Y, Fodor L, Schwarzberg I, Carmi N, Ullmann A, Ramon Y (2008) The sounds of music in the operating room. Injury 39(5):592–597CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Wiseman MC (2013) The Mozart effect on task performance in a laparoscopic surgical simulator. Surg Innov 20(5):444–453CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Allen K, Blascovich J (1994) Effects of music on cardiovascular reactivity among surgeons (correction)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Wegner K (1998) Surgical navigation system and method using audio feedback. Georgia Institute of TechnologyGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Voormolen EHJ, Woerdeman PA, van Stralen M, Noordmans HJ, Viergever MA, Regli L, van der Sprenkel. JWB (2012) Validation of exposure visualization and audible distance emission for navigated temporal bone drilling in phantoms. PLoS ONE 7(7):e41262CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Dixon BJ, Daly MJ, Chan H, Vescan A, Witterick IJ, Irish JC (2014) Augmented realtime navigation with critical structure proximity alerts for endoscopic skull base surgery. Laryngoscope 124(4):853–859CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Cho B, Oka M, Matsumoto N, Ouchida R, Hong J, Hashizume M (2013) Warning navigation system using real-time safe region monitoring for otologic surgery. Int J Comput Assist Radiol Surg 8(3):395–405CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hansen C, Black D, Lange C, Rieber F, Lamad W, Donati M, Oldhafer KJ, Hahn HK (2013) Auditory support for resection guidance in navigated liver surgery. Int J Med Robot Comput Assist Surg 9(1):36–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Roodaki H, Navab N, Eslami A, Stapleton C, Navab N (2017) Sonifeye: sonification of visual information using physical modeling sound synthesis. IEEE Trans Vis Comput Graph 23(11):2366–2371CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Eckel G, Iovino F, Causs R (1995) Sound synthesis by physical modelling with Modalys. In: Proceedings of the international symposium on musical acoustics, pp 479–482Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Verfaille V, Guastavino C, Traube C (2006) An interdisciplinary approach to audio effect classification. In Proceedings of the 9th international conference on digital audio effectsGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Bello JP, Daudet L, Abdallah S, Duxbury C, Davies M, Sandler MB (2005) A tutorial on onset detection in music signals. IEEE Trans Speech Audio Process 13(5):1035–1047CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© CARS 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sasan Matinfar
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. Ali Nasseri
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ulrich Eck
    • 1
  • Michael Kowalsky
    • 1
  • Hessam Roodaki
    • 1
  • Navid Navab
    • 3
  • Chris P. Lohmann
    • 2
  • Mathias Maier
    • 2
  • Nassir Navab
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Computer Aided Medical ProceduresTechnische Universität MünchenMunichGermany
  2. 2.Augenklinik rechts der IsarTechnische Universität MünchenMunichGermany
  3. 3.Topological Media LabConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada
  4. 4.Computer Aided Medical ProceduresJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

Personalised recommendations