Development of an Open-Source Laparoscopic Simulator Capable of Motion and Force Assessment: High Tech at Low Cost

Bojan Gavrilovic, Aodhnait S. Fahy, Brian Carrillo, Ahmed Nasr, Justin T. Gerstle, Georges Azzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: Laparoscopic simulators help improve surgical skills in an ex vivo setting. New simulators incorporate force and motion assessment, but often at high financial cost. Our goal is to establish global access to a laparoscopic simulator, which offers both traditional summative assessment (time to task completion and precision) as well as advanced formative assessment (force and motion sensing capabilities) so that educators anywhere may be able to create simulators with increased educational value. Design: A low-cost laparoscopic simulator incorporating an off-the-shelf optical sensor, inertial measurement unit, holders, and a housing unit for a microcontroller was integrated into a plastic box with a high-definition digital camera and a three-dimensional mouse. Open source software was developed to offer real-time feedback in force and motion. The system was calibrated for accuracy and consistency. Results: The simulator was assembled from off-the-shelf components and open-source software. Total estimated cost was $350 United States Dollars. The mouse was calibrated by applying known forces in known directions. Linear forces measured in all axes showed linear output trends with r2-values of between 0.988 and 0.999. Accuracy in motion evaluation was evaluated and this demonstrated low average errors in the motion sensors of 5.4% to 6.8%. Conclusions: This low-cost, off-the-shelf, open-access laparoscopic simulator provides accurate and consistent measures of force and motion. We believe that collaborative efforts between surgeons and engineers can allow the creation of these surgical teaching devices at a reasonable cost such that they can be used in resource-rich and resource-limited settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1253-1260
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Laparoendoscopic and Advanced Surgical Techniques
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery


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