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Welcome to the OpenSurgSim Project

OpenSurgSim is an open-source project dedicated to real-time surgical simulation. It offers an open framework that includes the necessary building blocks for surgical simulations, such as native device support, haptic feedback, graphics, discrete collision detection and physics simulation. OpenSurgSim is flexible. Developers can refactor the physics engine, swap models, ODE solvers, or linear system solvers. For current information and documentation about the project, please visit our website:

Support can also be found on our public mailing list at An archive of the mailing list is at:

To help get started using OpenSurgSim, use the following quick start guide:

1. Getting OpenSurgSim
2. Compiling on GNU/Linux
3. Compiling on Microsoft Windows
Appendix: Dependencies
  1. Getting OpenSurgSim ======================

OpenSurgSim uses Git for source control, and this is the easiest way to obtain the most up to date version. Resources for installing and using Git can be found on Git's website (See Appendix). To obtain OpenSurgSim, run the following command:

git clone git:// 

This will download the source code for OpenSurgSim and place it in the OpenSurgSim directory.

  1. Compiling on GNU/Linux =========================

OpenSurgSim has been tested extensively on Debian Unstable (Sid). If you are using another GNU/Linux distribution, please check your package management system for the dependencies (see Appendix). For Debian/Ubuntu based systems, the dependencies are easily installed through apt-get:

sudo apt-get install libboost-all-dev cmake doxygen libeigen3-dev
sudo apt-get install google-mock libjs-mathjax libopenscenegraph-dev
sudo apt-get install libyaml-cpp-dev

To build OpenSurgSim, issue the following commands from the same directory used to obtain OpenSurgSim (see Section 1)

mkdir OpenSurgSim/Build
cd OpenSurgSim/Build
cmake ../

That's it!

  1. Compiling on Microsoft Windows =================================

OpenSurgSim has been developed and tested on Microsoft Windows 7, however, other versions of Windows are likely to work. At least Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 is required to build OpenSurgSim.

First obtain the source code (Section 1), and install the required dependencies (Appendix). In addition, the following environment variables will help CMake automatically find the dependencies, especially if they are not installed to the default locations.

BOOST_ROOT  <Path to Boost>
EIGEN_DIR   <Path to Eigen>
OSG_ROOT    <Path to OSG>

Also, add %OSG_ROOT%/bin to your PATH environment variable.

Generating the Visual Studio solution file is done with the CMake graphical user interface. Open CMake, and enter the OpenSurgSim folder (from Section 1) into the "Where is the source code" field. Then enter a new directory into the "Where to build the binaries" field. This folder is referred to as BUILD folder for the purpose of the following steps.

Next, click on the 'Configure' button. This will allow you to select the compiler (Visual Studio 11 for Visual Studio 2012). If CMake reports “library not found”, it is likely that your system variables BOOST_ROOT, EIGEN_DIR or OSG_ROOT are incorrect. Once the configuration is complete without error, click on the 'Generate' button.

Finally, go to the BUILD folder, open the OpenSurgSim solution file, and build the ALL_BUILD project.

Appendix: Dependencies

To compile OpenSurgSim, you will need the following dependencies. Many GNU/Linux distributions already provide this software in their software repositories. If not, or using Microsoft Windows, please refer to the installation instructions found on each dependency's homepage. When we know of reliable pre-built Windows packages we will refer to them.

Required Dependencies

Modules: chrono, date_time, filesystem, program_options, system, thread
Minimum Version: 1.54
Windows Binaries:

Minimum Version: 2.8

Minimum Version: 3.2.1 (GNU/Linux)
Minimum Version: 3.2.3 (Windows)

Minimum Version: 1.7.9

Modules: osg, osgViewer, osgText, osgUtil, osgDB, osgGA, osgAnimation
Minimum Version: 3.2.0

Minimum Version: 0.5.2

Optional Dependencies

Minimum Version: 1.8

Minimum Version: 2.6.0

Google Mock
Minimum Version: 1.7.0

Minimum Version: 2.4


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