Evaluation of haptic virtual reality user interfaces for medical marking on 3D models
Abstract Three-dimensional (3D) visualization has been widely used in computer-aided medical diagnosis and planning. To interact with 3D models, current user interfaces in medical systems mainly rely on the traditional 2D interaction techniques by employing a mouse and a 2D display. There are promising haptic virtual reality (VR) interfaces which can enable intuitive and realistic 3D interaction by using VR equipment and haptic devices. However, the practical usability of the haptic VR interfaces in this medical field remains unexplored. In this study, we propose two haptic VR interfaces, a vibrotactile VR interface and a kinesthetic VR interface, for medical diagnosis and planning on volumetric medical images. The vibrotactile VR interface used a head-mounted VR display as the visual output channel and a VR controller with vibrotactile feedback as the manipulation tool. Similarly, the kinesthetic VR interface used a head-mounted VR display as the visual output channel and a kinesthetic force-feedback device as the manipulation tool. We evaluated these two VR interfaces in an experiment involving medical marking on 3D models, by comparing them with the present state-of-the-art 2D interface as the baseline. The results showed that the kinesthetic VR interface performed the best in terms of marking accuracy, whereas the vibrotactile VR interface performed the best in terms of task completion time. Overall, the participants preferred to use the kinesthetic VR interface for the medical task.