The purpose of this study was to investigate consistency of performance of robot-assisted surgical tasks in a virtual reality environment. Eight subjects performed two surgical tasks, bimanual carrying and needle passing, with both the da Vinci surgical robot and a virtual reality equivalent environment. Nonlinear analysis was utilized to evaluate consistency of performance by calculating the regularity and the amount of divergence in the movement trajectories of the surgical instrument tips. Our results revealed that movement patterns for both training tasks were statistically similar between the two environments. Consistency of performance as measured by nonlinear analysis could be an appropriate methodology to evaluate the complexity of the training tasks between actual and virtual environments and assist in developing better surgical training programs.
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