Hips logoDIVR tech award

Hip-Replacement Implantation Preparation Simulator

HIPS is a joint project of University of Bremen (Computer Graphics and Virtual Reality Research Lab (CGVR)), Chemnitz University of Technology (department of mechanical engineering), CAT PRODUCTION GmbH and FAKT Software GmbH that is funded by the VDI/VDE within the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM) by German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) under the grant KF2039721AK2. This project is partially supported by the Bremen Spatial Cognition Center (BSCC).

Our vision is to enable students of surgery to learn the neccessary skills to perform a hip replacement surgery, called arthroplasty, in a fun, safe and effective virtual reality simulation using haptic feedback or force feedback. Actually, virtual reality is one way to lower training costs, as students don't need to practice on donor hips, or at least not exclusively. We currently focus on a single however very difficult step in the whole procedure, the so called acetabular reaming, where the hip socket is enlarged and cleared of old joint tissue and bone in order to facilitate enough room to fit a prosthetic hip socket.

The difficulty when reaming the hip socket is that the amount of force and the duration with which to ream can only be felt. If the surgeon were to ream too far, he could penetrate and damage the bone, or even worse damage nearby major arteries. Surgeons rate this step in the procedure as the most difficult and studies showed that the successrate is directly correlated to the surgeons experience. However, how do you teach a skill that can not be fully expressed by words or images? The key component in learning this skill is haptics or force feedback.

Consequently, we developed a novel collision detection and force feedback method using inner sphere trees that enables haptic force rendering of high forces with stable continuous behaviour. We use a KUKA LBR iiwa robot to render extremely hard contacts and really high forces (up to 137 N).

For further informations about our new geometric data structure that is based on sphere packings, the "Inner Sphere Trees", please visit our corresponding project page.

We successfully demonstrated a working prototype of an intermediate version of our simulator at the European Robotics Forum 2018 and at IEEE VR 2018.
As part of the Deutschen Institut für Virtual Reality (DIVR) competition of 2019, we were awarded the 'best tech' DIVR-Award among about 50 participants for our VR demo presentation.
The project was also presented in July 2020 on MDR Aktuell in the report "OP-Training dank VR: Chemnitzer Forscher entwickeln virtuelle Hüftoperationen".
The "Marburger Bund Zeitung" published in June 2020 in its column "Wissenschaft & Technik" the article "Für ein realistisches Gefühl / Virtuelle Realität mit einem Computer" about our project.

Visualization of the found density distribution.

Visualization of the found density distribution in the acetabulum. Red parts are hard, green parts are soft, white have not been analyzed.

Demo presentation within the DIVR-Award assessment.

Demo presentation within the DIVR-Award 2019 assessment. (Foto: Mediennetzwerk.NRW / Juliane Herrmann)

Us receiving the DIVR-Award for best tech.

Us receiving the DIVR-Award 2019 for best tech among 50 participants. (Foto: Mediennetzwerk.NRW / Juliane Herrmann)

Visualization of a poorly reamed hip socket.

Visualization of a poorly reamed hip socket. Colored parts are errors.

Visualization of a poorly reamed hip socket.

Blue shaded parts visualize under-reamed material, such as unhealthy bone or cartilage.

Visualization of a poorly reamed hip socket.

Red translucent parts show material that was over-reamed, these weaken the bone structure.

Demonstration in Chemnitz.

Our demo setup while meeting with experienced surgeons to evaluate our simulator in May 2018. We mounted the real surgeon tool to the end-effector of the KUKA iiwa.

Demonstration in Chemnitz.

An actual acetabular reamer mounted to the robot.

Demonstration in Chemnitz.

Surgeon testing our simulator in Chemnitz, May 2018.

Demonstration in Chemnitz.

More people trying the simulator in Chemnitz.

Demonstration at European Robotics Forum 2018

Demonstration of our simulator at the European Robotics Forum 2018 in Tampere, Finnland. The demo was sponsored by KUKA.

Demonstration at IEEE VR 2018

The setup for our demo, which we also presented at the IEEE VR 2018 in Reutlingen, Germany.





Rigid-Body-based Hip Reaming

Rigid-Body-based simulation of hip reamer and pelvic bone with material removal, visualized in Unreal Engine.

Hip Reaming

Performing acetabular reaming to prepare for prosthetic fitting, visualized in Unreal Engine.

Dental Milling

Performing dental caries removal, visualized in Unreal Engine.

Short movie

Short movie demonstrating our project, with English audio. (Go here for the German audio version)

Short movie (longer cut) (German audio)

Short movie demonstrating our project [German audio].

Orthopedic surgeon trying out the simulator

Orthopedic surgeon testing our application.

Recording of the first working version

Work-in-progress video of our application (with english subtitles).


This work is supported by the VDI/VDE within the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM) by German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) under the grant KF2039721AK2.

Related Links

  1. https://tectales.com/ar-vr/hip-implant-simulator-for-virtual-surgery-training.html
  2. https://www.tu-chemnitz.de/tu/pressestelle/aktuell/9468
  3. https://www.divr.de/divr-award-2019-ein-rueckblick/
  4. https://www.blog.kuka.com/2018/03/29/robot-and-us-the-european-robotics-forum-2018-in-tampere
  5. https://www.kuka.com/de-de/presse/events/2018/03/erf-2018
  6. https://www.kuka.com/de-de/presse/news/2018/03/kuka-beim-european-robotics-forum-2018