The Neurosurgery Simulation Core maintains a diverse array of technology to support our basic research and clinical missions. These tools help us prototype and develop new devices, plan for surgeries in a variety of ways tailored to an individual operation, and educate physicians, residents, students, and patients.

3D Printing

In our Simulation Core Suite, we use a Makerbot 5th Generation “Fused Deposition Modeling” printer for small, rapid prototypes of technology and pre-operative models. Through our relationship with the Mount Sinai Institute for Next Generation Healthcare, we have access to a variety of industrial-scale printing capabilities unique to a clinical setting, including 3D System’s ProJet 3500 and 660. These printers allow rapid development of patient-specific 3D anatomical printing for pre-operative planning and patient consultation.

Patient-Specific Simulation

The Neurosurgery Simulation Core works closely with industry partners to acquire and deploy the most advanced available simulation technology for our patients. We collaborate extensively with Surgical Theater whose products, the 3D Surgical Planner (SRP) and Surgical Navigation Advanced Platform (SNAP), provide advanced, patient-specific 3D visualization technology which we have integrated into our tumor and vascular case planning. The SNAP is now a standard feature in operating rooms, providing surgeons with an intraoperative and patient-specific 3D environment in which to plan and understand surgical approaches. More recently, we have acquired Surgical Theater’s most recent intraoperative simulator, the EndoSNAP, which enables tight integration between virtual reality and minimally-invasive endoscopic procedures. Newly-acquired SNAP “viewer” stations enable patients to interact with virtual reality representations of their own procedures prior to surgery, which augments patients’ understanding of their diseases and confidence in the planned operation. 

Haptic Simulation

Our program was the first in the United States to acquire the NeuroTouch virtual-reality simulator, which uses 3D software in tandem with handheld surgical control to provide visual and haptic (tactile) feedback to closely mimic an actual brain surgery. The Neurosurgery Simulation Core uses these tools to develop new approaches to neurosurgery training, much in the same way that flight simulation is used to train pilots before they operate a passenger plane. More recently, we have acquired Synaptive’s Brightmatter Simulate platform, a hyper-realistic brain and bony-anatomy model, which allow us to train for and prototype new procedures.

Computational Resources

The Neurosurgery Simulation Core maintains a variety of computational resources for use during research and development, together with clinical data storage and analysis. A 64TB replicated storage array together with GPU-based cluster resources is maintained in the Simulation Core Suite. These tools allow us to develop new software for the analysis of radiological images and to improve our visualization, virtual reality, and augmented reality tools. We maintain a database of intraoperative video and metrics for retrospective study, in order to understand the effect of simulation throughout the entire neurosurgical patient’s pipeline through Mount Sinai.


As a part of our development efforts, software is developed within the group and in many cases we make that software available open source to the community at large. For example, we have recently released a set of Android applications for tablet and Google Glass which provide environments to remotely record and stream Google Glass video over a closed (secure) network, together with 3D models which may be printed and used to attach Google Glass to an individual surgeon’s loupes. Please see our BitBucket repository for the latest releases.