The small incisions used for optical and haptical access within so-called minimal-invasive surgery (MIS) are known to reduce the trauma as well as the collateral damage for the patient. Nevertheless, such small keyhole incisions simultaneously reduce also the vision, the orientation, as well as the possibilities of maneuverability at the site for the surgeon. Hence, to compensate these cognitive and haptical losses, such small-scale interventions have always been dependent on technical equipment, as e. g. endoscopes, light-sources, and extensions of manipulators.
Nevertheless, with the generation of instruments current available for “MIS“ or “NOTES“ interventions the steadily increasing possibilities of mechatronics, micro-electronics and information technologies are barely used. Furthermore, the instruments available lack the functional interfaces to acquire, store, receive and exchange information with other instruments and systems, and hence are not apt to use the possibilities of a higher-level information exchange, integration and complementary use of such systems.
Tackling these issues the “Whole´O´Hand“project was started where the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA as well as the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD as involved. The project was funded by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft since 2008 for three years.