SBIR and STTR Success Story for
ImmersiveTouch, Inc.

(Information Posted/Updated on 11/29/2012)

ImmersiveTouch, Inc.
5707 S. Cass Ave., #1176
Westmont, IL  60559

Contact:    Dr. P. Pat Banerjee
Phone:      630 570 5943
Web Site:

Project Title:  SENSIMMER Virtual Phaco Trainer for Cataract Surgery
Related Award(s):  1R41EY018965-01, 3R41EY018965-01S1, 2R42EY018965-02.
Technology Developed:
Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries worldwide. Yet it is difficult to perform, and surgical trainees are prone to make errors that can compromise patient safety. In the US, accredited ophthalmology residence programs are required to provide non-operating-room training through wet labs (animal eyes) or virtual reality surgery simulators. To meet this demand, ImmersiveTouch, Inc. has produced the SENSIMMER Virtual Phaco Trainer to run on its microsurgery simulator platform, MicrovisTouch™. This allows ophthalmology residents to practice the difficult steps of standard cataract surgery - capsulorhexis and phacoemulsification, without risk to patients. The simulator scoring system is designed to reinforce correct technique. More importantly, the flexibility of the technological platform allows ease of expansion to many other steps without the need to make hardware modifications.

Key Words:  cataract surgery, phacoemulsification, capsulorhexis, patient safety, haptics, virtual reality.
Uses of Technology/Products/Service:
Phacoemulsification or “phaco” refers to the modern technique of cataract surgery that uses ultrasonic power, delivered through an instrument inserted into the eye, in order to break up the eye’s cloudy natural lens and make room for a new synthetic lens. A preliminary step in this operation, capsulorhexis, involves inserting a forceps through an incision at the outer edge of the cornea to create a controlled, circular tear or “rhexis” in the anterior surface of the lens capsule. This allows access to the lens area for the rest of the operation. Final lens placement and stability depend on the circularity, size, and centration of the capsular tear. Yet this step and the ultrasound step are the two most difficult parts of the surgery: the delicate capsular tear must not be allowed to spiral out of control, and the ultrasound power must be applied cautiously to the lens to protect nearby tissues. To address these difficulties, commercial simulators have arisen, mainly from Europe, and now in the US with the ImmersiveTouch®–SENSIMMER® Virtual Phaco Trainer, developed at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Unlike competing platforms, the ImmersiveTouch unit provides haptic (force) feedback to the simulator user, which is useful during the practice of phacoemulsification. Ongoing trials of the simulator are underway at Johns Hopkins University, King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia), Loyola University, Northwestern University, Stroger Cook County Hospital, and are scheduled to begin at University of Illinois at Chicago. A number of other institutions have also expressed interest.