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Development and face validation of a virtual camera navigation task trainer

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The fundamentals of laparoscopic surgery (FLS) trainer box, which is now established as a standard for evaluating minimally invasive surgical skills, consists of five tasks: peg transfer, pattern cutting, ligation, intra- and extracorporeal suturing. Virtual simulators of these tasks have been developed and validated as part of the Virtual Basic Laparoscopic Skill Trainer (VBLaST) (Arikatla et al. in Int J Med Robot Comput Assist Surg 10:344–355, 2014; Zhang et al. in Surg Endosc 27(10):3603–3615, 2013; Sankaranarayanan et al. in J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Tech 20(2):153–157, 2010; Qi et al. J Biomed Inform 75:48–62, 2017). The virtual task trainers have many advantages including automatic real-time objective scoring, reduced costs, and eliminating human proctors. In this paper, we extend VBLaST by adding two camera navigation system tasks: (a) pattern matching and (b) path tracing.


A comprehensive camera navigation simulator with two virtual tasks, simplified and cheaper hardware interface (compared to the prior version of VBLaST), graphical user interface, and automated metrics has been designed and developed. Face validity of the system is tested with medical students and residents from the University at Buffalo’s medical school.


The subjects rated the simulator highly in all aspects including its usefulness in training to center the target and to teach sizing skills. The quality and usefulness of the force feedback scored the lowest at 2.62.

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Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging And Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R44EB019802. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.


National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R44EB019802.

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Correspondence to Venkata Arikatla.

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Venkata Arikatla, Sam Horvath, Yaoyu Fu, Lora Cavuoto, Suvranu De, Steve Schwaitzberg, and Andinet Enquobahrie have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Arikatla, V., Horvath, S., Fu, Y. et al. Development and face validation of a virtual camera navigation task trainer. Surg Endosc 33, 1927–1937 (2019).

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