Abstract

Teleoperation is now common in high-risk work domains, particularly in surgery with the extensive use of remote, minimally invasive techniques. While this new technology affords a novel means by which to control human action for surgical intervention, interface design often constrains the operator in unorthodox ways, requiring considerable adaptation and raising patient safety concerns. There is a need to objectively measure operator adaptation, evaluate varying teleoperator interface designs and assess the efficacy of the virtual reality trainers that simulate teleoperation. This paper highlights the potential for a neuroergonomic approach to these problems. It first delineates some of the task demands unique to teleoperation in minimally invasive surgery and then speculates on the neural basis of those tasks with reference to select neuropsychological literature. The integration of this literature serves to indicate that teleoperation may engage a unique pattern of brain processing and that neuropsychological measurement may therefore be useful in evaluating the design of the teleoperation interface and teleoperator adaptation.

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