Rectums come in all shapes and sizes, so the device presented at the Eurohaptics conference this week can be programmed, allowing the anatomy to be altered each time. The current simulation is based on scans of the UK’s only rectal teaching assistant.

Other prosthetic rectums are available, including one from the US with pressure sensors. However, none give such a realistic feel to trainees, says Fernando Bello, a member of the team from Imperial College London.

The researchers have completed a successful pilot study on 20 cancer surgeons and medical professionals. Now they are are working on a more affordable version—the current prototype costs around $13,300—to test at medical schools within a year. They also hope to improve their simulations based on data collected from the real-life examinations of more patients.

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