Haptic Feedback Enhances Force Skill Learning

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ACHI 2011 : The Fourth International Conference on Advances in Computer-Human Interactions

A Framework for Computer Based Training
to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Techniques
A. F. Abate, M. Nappi, S. Ricciardi
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
University of Salerno
Fisciano (SA) -Italy
{abate, mnappi, sricciardi}@unisa.it

Abstract - This paper presents a visual-haptic framework for the simulated training to some key procedures of the In Vitro Fertilization techniques which are become very popular to
address several infertility conditions. Two of the most crucial procedures typically involved in the fertilization process, the Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) and the Embryo
Transfer (ET) are integrated in the system proposed. The aim is simulating them both at the visual and kinesthetic level by means of a specifically developed virtual environment. This
environment includes the human egg, the selected sperm and
the micro needles required during the ICSI as well as the
catheter, the womb and the embryo involved in ET. The
proposed approach exploits a two hand-based haptic devices
mimicking the force feedback of the actual manipulation gear and a visual-haptic engine simulating the shape and the
dynamic behavior of the main components involved in the two
aforementioned stages of the artificial fertilization process. Keywords: visual-haptic interface; 3D object manipulation;
virtual training

Today, haptic devices providing realistic force feedback
to the manipulation of virtual objects [1] allow the users of virtual simulators not only to practice at a visual level but also to develop the haptic-knowledge required to perform
hand-based tasks [2]. Medical/surgical training applications [3] may particularly benefit from a visual-haptic approach,
since they are inherently dependent on physical interaction
[4] [5]. In this study the aforementioned interaction
paradigm is exploited for the simulated training of two key
techniques commonly required for In-Vitro Fertilization
(IVF): the (Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection) typically
known as ICSI and the Embryo Transfer (ET) which are
briefly explained in the following lines.
The term ICSI refers to the injection of a sperm directly
into the cytoplasm of the egg. This procedure by-passes all
the natural barriers that the sperm has to encounter. The
ICSI procedure begins by drawing out the previously
immobilized sperm into a tiny micro-needle, carefully
maintaining it at its tip. The micro-injection needle is
manipulated using a micro-manipulator which has
extremely fine control capabilities. The egg itself is held
onto another micro-tool by gentle suction to keep it firmly

Copyright (c) IARIA, 2011.

ISBN: 978-1-61208-117-5

positioned. The micro-needle containing the sperm is
pushed gently up against the outer shell (pellucida zone)
and carefully injected through the shell, through the outer
membrane of the egg and directly into the centre of the egg
itself, i.e., the egg’s cytoplasm (Figure 1a). At the end of the injection procedure the micro-injection needle is
carefully withdrawn and suction on the egg is released.
After subsequent culture procedures, in case of
fertilization, the Embryo Transfer (ET) procedure is
performed by placing the embryos back in the uterus by
means of a specific flexible catheter (Figure 1b), where
they will hopefully implant and develop to result in a live
birth. The ET procedure is a critically important procedure, and the physician can ruin everything with a carelessly
performed embryo transfer. The entire IVF cycle depends
on delicate placement of the embryos at the proper location
near the middle of the endometrial cavity with as little
trauma and manipulation as possible. To our best
knowledge, this is the first proposal of an integrated
ICSI/ET virtual training system, while there are only very
few works addressing the ICSI simulation through...
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