Journal of Medical Robotics Research, 4 (2), pp. 1950004, 2019
Tubular continuum robots can follow complex curvilinear paths to reach restricted areas within the body. Using teleoperation, these robots can help minimize incisions and reduce trauma. However, drawbacks include the lack of haptic feedback and a limited view of the situs, often due to camera occlusion. This work presents novel auditory display to enhance interaction with such continuum robots to increase accuracy and path-following efficiency and reduce cognitive workload. We recreate a typical use case with a test environment that simulates a transnasal intervention through the sphenoidal sinus including a simulated continuum robot. Distance information is mapped to changes in a real-time audio synthesizer using sung voice to provide navigation cues. User studies with novice participants and clinicians were performed to evaluate the effects of auditory display on accuracy, task time, path following efficiency, subjective workload, and usability. When using auditory display, participants exhibit significant increase in accuracy, efficiency, and task time compared to visual-only display. Auditory display reduced subjective workload and raised usefulness and satisfaction ratings. The addition of auditory display for augmenting interaction with a teleoperated continuum robot has shown to benefit performance as well as usability. The method could benefit other scenarios in navigated surgery to increase accuracy and reduce workload.