Surgical soundtracks: automatic acoustic augmentation of surgical procedures



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.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13


  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):711–717

    Article  PubMed  Google 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. IEEE

  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 3:37

    Article  Google 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 58–65

  5. 5.

    Kestin IG, Miller BR, Lockhart CH (1988) Auditory alarms during anesthesia monitoring. Anesthesiol J Am Soc Anesthesiol 69(1):106–108

    CAS  Google 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 673–681

  7. 7.

    Hermann T, Hunt A (2011) The sonification handbook. In: Neuhoff JG (ed) Logos Verlag, Berlin

  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):592–597

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Wiseman MC (2013) The Mozart effect on task performance in a laparoscopic surgical simulator. Surg Innov 20(5):444–453

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Allen K, Blascovich J (1994) Effects of music on cardiovascular reactivity among surgeons (correction)

  11. 11.

    Wegner K (1998) Surgical navigation system and method using audio feedback. Georgia Institute of Technology

  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):e41262

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  CAS  Google 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):853–859

    Article  PubMed  Google 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):395–405

    Article  PubMed  Google 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):36–43

    Article  Google 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):2366–2371

    Article  PubMed  Google 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 479–482

  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 effects

  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):1035–1047

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sasan Matinfar.

Ethics declarations

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.

Additional information

Sasan Matinfar, M. Ali Nasseri and Ulrich Eck contributed equally to this work and should be considered as first authors.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (mp4 13361 KB)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Matinfar, S., Nasseri, M.A., Eck, U. et al. Surgical soundtracks: automatic acoustic augmentation of surgical procedures. Int J CARS 13, 1345–1355 (2018).

Download citation


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