Laparoscopic surgery has a notably high learning curve, hindering typical approaches to training. Due to unique challenges that are not present in open surgery (the hinge effect, small field of view (FoV), lack of depth perception, and small workspace), a surgical resident may be delayed in participating in laparoscopic surgery until later in residency. Having a narrow window to complete highly specialized training can lead to graduates feeling under-prepared for solo practice. Additionally, delayed introduction may expose trainees to fewer than 200 laparoscopic cases. Therefore, there is a need for surgical residents to increase both their caseload and training window without compromising patient safety. This project aims to develop and test a proof-of-concept prototype that uses granular jamming technology to controllably vary the force required to move a laparoscopic tool. By increasing tool resistance, the device helps prevents accidental injury to important nearby anatomical structures such as urinary tract, vasculature, and/or bowel. Increasing the safety of laparoscopic surgery would allow residents to begin their training earlier, gaining exposure and confidence. A device to adjust tool resistance has benefits to the experienced surgeon as well – surgeries require continuous tool adjustment and tension, resulting in fatigue. Increasing tool resistance can assist surgeons in situations requiring continuous tension and can also provide safety against sudden movements. This investigational device was prototyped using SolidWorks CAD software, then 3D printed and assessed with a laparoscopic box trainer.

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