In this project, we worked with Mentice to improve the setup process for their mobile endovascular surgery simulator. This was Intunios first medtech assignment and we were very excited to get involved. The surgery simulator simulates different types of endovascular procedures with the help of a force feedback mechanism, a set of vendor specific tools, and on-screen UI, emulating an X-ray image of a patient. These together makes the simulation extremely realistic and allows doctors to practice a wide range of procedures in a practical manner. The complete simulator is a large piece of equipment and mimics the setup found in real hospitals, including large displays and a human sized dummy where the force feedback mechanism is integrated. The simulator can also be configured as a mobile system, which can be easily transported. This mobile system is frequently set up in new places so it was important that the setup process be as easy, and as intuitive, as possible.
In the procedure validator (which is an application running on Windows), the user is taken through a sequence of steps, where the steps verify each piece of the system, in order to make sure the hardware is working as expected before an actual simulation session. Our first challenge was to understand all the steps necessary for the setup process, and what function they served for the validation of the mobile system. Thankfully, we were able to borrow a mobile rig from Mentice which gave us direct access to the hardware and software we were working with, throughout the project. This helped a lot since, by playing around with the product, we were able to get a feel for the inherent user challenges of the system. We also had information from Mentice regarding the problems with the current software solution, which helped us focus our energy on solving the biggest issues. Since the project was so well-defined in terms of functionality and priorities, it caused for a different mindset, as opposed to designing for an idea. Because of this, we put a lot of effort into the design of the UI as we strongly believe that aesthetics have a bearing on a system’s ease of use.
This project was great fun and was conducted in a very efficient manner in part due to how well-defined the goal was, but also the fact that we had access to the hardware, and our close collaboration with Mentice. Nothing showcases this better than the fact that after delivery the customer did not want to change anything. The feedback we received from the users was simply “Fantastic! Can we get this for all our other modules now?”.