VOSTARS headset

Augmented reality enhanced surgical navigator

The VOSTARS headset is the first multimodality visor for surgical navigation. The system uses augmented reality to overlay case specific information on the patient during surgeries with a submillimeter accuracy. The virtual content stays within the surgeon’s visual field, reducing the need to divert attention to external monitors for additional information.

Website: vostars.eu

Our task 

Our focus was to translate the surgical team’s needs and technological insights into an industrial design that seamlessly integrates into the surgical procedure and provides a flawless user experience to the surgeon. 


Our solution 

The new visor can generate AR content in a more authentic and reliable way, mitigating the technological and perceptual pitfalls of conventional near-eye-displays for AR. The ergonomic design allows the surgeon to look 30˚ downwards through the system without straining the neck.

How we did it 

Pilotfish supported The University of Pisa and 11 other European partners from the very beginning of the project, leading the industrial design, mechanical engineering and system integration activities. This design is the final proof of concept developed in the research-based project.

Through our user research, we found neck strain to be a major concern for surgeons. We overcame this challenge by designing a tilt in the device to allow the surgeons to look 30˚downwards and see all the vital information, without damaging their necks.

The device housing was adapted during the mechanical engineering phase to fit two different optical hardware technologies. Our work allowed the research team to compare these display technologies while minimising the production costs. 

The proof of concept’s housing has entirely been developed and produced by Pilotfish.  

Proof of Concept

In the POC phase, we develop the working principles and test them. All critical and unknown aspects of the product have to be understood and problems must be solved before moving onto the next phase.

ID & UX Design

During the ID phase, we create the product’s appearance and user interaction. We not only make sure that the product is designed to be ergonomically friendly and visually appealing but also keep the production feasibility and cost needs in mind. By working hand in hand with engineers and production managers, we design the product to minimize the risks and costs that may occur during the production


Due to the small quantity needed our team of engineers designed the encasement and all details for production via CNC milling. The engineering work was tested with working prototypes and the final deliverables were the housing parts, the 3D files and the supporting documents.


Innovation Management

We advise our clients on the best possible production strategy in order to minimise the time to market and increase the return of investment (ROI). There are many parties involved when it comes to hardware development, but we manage all partners and make sure that the timeline is respected and deadlines are met.

The result

This project gives surgeons the possibility of powers beyond x-ray vision – they are able to see data on patients’ vital signs, including heart and breathing rates, alongside pre-operative information including CT and MRI scans. The new headset provides practical comfort for surgeons, with precision AR technology.

         Behind the scenes