Background Flexible endoscopes are increasingly used to perform advanced intraluminal and transluminal interven- tions. These complex interventions demand accurate and efficient control, however, current endoscopes lack intui- tiveness and ergonomic control of the endoscope tip. Alternative handheld controllers can improve intuitiveness and ergonomics, though previous studies are inconclusive concerning their effect on the efficiency of endoscope manipulation. The aim of this study is to determine the efficiency of a robotic system with intuitive user interface in controlling the tip of the flexible endoscope. Methods We compared the efficiency of time and tip trajectory when steering the endoscope tip using the con- ventional steering wheels and a robotic platform with three different user interfaces: a touchpad in combination with a position control algorithm, a joystick combined with linear rate control, and a joystick combined with non-linear rate control. Fourteen participants, without a medical back- ground, used all four interfaces. They performed both large navigational and fine targeting tasks in a simulated envi- ronment which allowed objective cross-subject compari- son. Afterward, the participants were asked to select their preferred steering method. Results Participants were significantly faster in steering the endoscope tip when using robotic steering compared to using the conventional steering method. Between the robotic interfaces, using the touchpad was significantly faster compared to the joystick with linear rate control. Use of the joystick with non-linear rate control led to a shorter tip trajectory compared to the touchpad. The majority of participants preferred the joystick with non-linear rate control over the other steering methods. Conclusions This work shows that intuitive user interfaces can improve the efficiency of endoscope steering.
- Flexible endoscopy