Assessment of Core Surgical Skills Using a Mixed Reality Headset – The MoTOR Study

John Valles, Taiqing Zhang, Paul McIntosh, Maurizio Pacilli, Ramesh M. Nataraja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Surgical skill assessment utilises direct observation and feedback by an expert which is potentially subjective, therefore obtaining objective data for hand and eye tracking is essential. Our aim was to evaluate a wearable mixed reality (MR) headset in these domains. Methods: Participants with differing levels of surgical expertise [novice (N), intermediate (I) & expert (E)] performed 4 simulated surgical tasks; 2 general dexterity (tasks 1&2) and 2 surgical skills (tasks 3&4) wearing the MR headset capturing their hand and eye movements (median & range). Metrics included hand path length and the speed of each index or thumb tip. Gaze data were also captured. Participant demographics, prior expertise and current experience were captured with an electronic survey. Data were analysed with a Shapiro-Wilk test or ANOVA as appropriate. A p-value of < 0.05 was significant. Results: Thirty-six participants were analysed (N = 18, I = 8, E = 8). Tasks 1&2 revealed 2 speed outcomes (left index and left-hand speed) which were significant. For tasks 3&4, various outcomes were significant: path length for left hand (N:45 cm vs. I:31 cm vs. E:27 cm, p = 0.03) and right hand (N:48 cm vs. I:29 cm vs. E:28 cm, p = 0.01) and total time (N:456s vs. I:292 vs. E: 245, p = 0.0002). With left-hand-tying, average path length (N:61 cm vs. I:39 vs. E:36, p = 0.04), average speed (N:11 cm/s vs. I:23 vs. E:24, p = 0.03), and total time (N:156s vs. I:43 vs. E:37, p = 0.003) were significant. The gaze-tracking was not statistically significant. Conclusion: The MR headset can be utilised as a valid tool for surgical performance assessment. Outcomes including path length and speed can be valuable metrics captured by the MR Headset during the task completion for detecting surgical proficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Medical Systems
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • HoloLens®
  • mixed reality
  • Motion tracking
  • operating room
  • simulation-based education
  • surgical simulation
  • wearable technology

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