How fast can you stop after the "pop"?


This study explores stress level, difficulty, and tool depth during robot-assisted chest tube insertions. Doctors use chest tubes to drain air and/or blood out of the space around your lungs. This space is surrounded by a membrane, and the doctor's tools can damage your heart and lungs if they go too far past it. Doctors guess tool depth by feeling when the tool has "popped" through this membrane. Sometimes it can be hard to feel the "pop" or to stop right after feeling it, which can lead to accidental organ damage.

We've built a robotic system that beeps when tools reach their target depth, and our goal is to measure how much it helps. We test how soon after the "pop" both experts and complete novices can stop tool insertion in simulated routine and emergency scenarios.


Currently recruiting participants: Yes

Eligible gender: Male, Female, Transgender, Other

Eligible ages: 18 to 100

Accepts healthy participants: Yes

Inclusion criteria:

Participants must:

1) Be adults 18+ years old.
2) Lack any impairments that would make safe insertion of sharp tools into chest simulators difficult or impossible.

Exclusion criteria:

1) Unable to understand and speak English.
2) Unable to provide informed consent.
3) Unable to follow instructions or perform study tasks.


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Additional information

Contact information

Please email our study coordinator, Rachael L'Orsa, at if you have any questions about the study, or if you are interested in participating. We look forward to hearing from you!

Principal investigator:

Garnette Roy Sutherland

Clinical trial: