New volumetric tools were developed for the design and fabrication of high quality cranial implants from patient CT data. These virtual tools replace time consuming physical sculpting, mold making and casting steps. The implant is designed by medical professionals in tele-immersive collaboration. Virtual clay is added in the virtual defect area on the CT data using the adding tool. With force feedback the modeler can feel the edge of the defect and fill only the space where no bone is present. A carving tool and a smoothing tool are then used to sculpt and refine the implant. To make a physical evaluation, the skull with simulated defect and the implant are fabricated via stereolithography to allow neurosurgeons to evaluate the quality of the implant. Initial tests demonstrate a very high quality fit. These new haptic volumetric sculpting tools are a critical component of a comprehensive tele-immersive system.
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