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Simulation of an optical-sensing technique for tracking surgical tools employed in computer-assisted interventions

Sun, Jiuai; Smith, Melvyn; Smith, Lyndon; Nolte, Lutz Peter


Jiuai Sun

Melvyn Smith

Lyndon Smith

Lutz Peter Nolte


Establishing the accuracy of optical-sensing systems for tools used in surgical procedures is an essential and nontrivial task. This paper shows that an optical-tracking system may be regarded as a cooperative system in that its accuracy is related not only to the optical-tracking system itself, but also to the parameters of the tracked objects. A numerical simulation method is used to obtain the accuracy distribution of imaginary markers, and, through statistical analysis, it is concluded that accuracy is inversely proportional to the root of the number of real markers and varies in proportion to increasing noise on the real marker positions. The results can be used to optimize the design of sensor-navigated surgical tools and improve accuracy when placing reference frames in radiology tasks. The work is also relevant to any position-sensing application that involves point-based rigid transformations. © 2005 IEEE.


Sun, J., Smith, M., Smith, L., & Nolte, L. P. (2005). Simulation of an optical-sensing technique for tracking surgical tools employed in computer-assisted interventions. IEEE Sensors Journal, 5(5), 1127-1130.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Oct 1, 2005
Journal IEEE Sensors Journal
Print ISSN 1530-437X
Publisher Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Issue 5
Pages 1127-1130
Keywords marker, optical-tracking system, position measurement, simulation
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : Developed for tracking, this analysis subsequently proved very useful for the design and calibration of a revolutionary new instrument that recovers 3D textures from patients' skin � including for pigmented lesions, eg melanoma. This instrument has undergone clinical trials at the Institute for Cancer Research Sutton and Frenchay Hospital, with very favourable results. A £650k DTI grant has followed directly from this work, which will enable the instrument to be further developed, in collaboration with a consultant plastic surgeon (R Warr, Frenchay Hospital, Bristol).

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