The Altair Robotics Laboratory at the University of Verona, Italy, has developed and is making available its Xron, a new simulator for training in robotic surgery. With Xron, a trainee controls the virtual robots in a realistic environment using stereoscopic rendering and advanced input devices.

Xron ensures that the simulation behaves correctly by accurately modeling interactions between objects, introducing correct friction, and other properties of the simulated elements.

Surgical simulators currently available have some severe limitations, such as object compenetration, extremely hard constraints between grabbed objects and robots, and surgical tools that only reproduce the end part of the actual robot, without modeling the entire robot. However, for an effective training tool to be such, it is paramount to ensure its realism both in terms of physics and robot dexterity.

Xron supports several hardware configurations from the most recent technologies for stereoscopic rendering (3D monitors, head-mounted displays) to the main haptic and input devices available on the market. The realism of the interaction is ensured with all configurations.

The Altair Robotics Laboratory has launched Xron as a public beta, and the software is freely available.