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Chair for Computer Aided Medical Procedures & Augmented Reality
Lehrstuhl für Informatikanwendungen in der Medizin & Augmented Reality

T. Reichl, J. Gardiazabal, N. Navab
Electromagnetic servoing - a new tracking paradigm
IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging, vol. 32, no. 8, pp. 1526-1535, April 2013. Available online. (bib)

Electromagnetic (EM) tracking is highly relevant for many computer assisted interventions. This is in particular due to the fact that the scientific community has not yet developed a general solution for tracking of flexible instruments within the human body. Electromagnetic tracking solutions are highly attractive for minimally invasive procedures, since they do not require line of sight. However, a major problem with EM tracking solutions is that they do not provide uniform accuracy throughout the tracking volume and the desired, highest accuracy is often only achieved close to the center of tracking volume. In this paper, we present a solution to the tracking problem, by mounting an EM field generator onto a robot arm. Proposing a new tracking paradigm, we take advantage of the electromagnetic tracking to detect the sensor within a specific sub-volume, with known and optimal accuracy. We then use the more accurate and robust robot positioning for obtaining uniform accuracy throughout the tracking volume. Such an Electromagnetic servoing methodology guarantees optimal and uniform accuracy, by allowing us to always keep the tracked sensor close to the center of the tracking volume. In this paper, both dynamic accuracy and accuracy distribution within the tracking volume are evaluated using optical tracking as ground truth. In repeated evaluations, the proposed method was able to reduce the overall error from 6.64 +/- 7.86 mm to a significantly improved accuracy of 3.83 +/- 6.43 mm. In addition, the combined system provides a larger tracking volume, which is only limited by the reach of the robot and not the much smaller tracking volume defined by the magnetic field generator.
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