A virtual platform for real-time performance analysis of electromagnetic tracking systems for surgical navigation
Electromagnetic Tracking Systems (EMTSs) are widely used in surgical navigation, allowing to improve the outcome of diagnosis and surgical interventions, by providing the surgeon with real-time position of surgical instruments during medical procedures. However, particular effort was dedicated to the development of efficient and robust algorithms, to obtain an accurate estimation of the instrument position for distances from the magnetic field generator beyond 0.5 m. Indeed, the main goal is to improve the limited range of current commercial systems, which strongly affects the freedom of movement of the medical team. Studies are currently being conducted to optimize the magnetic field generator configuration (both geometrical arrangements and electrical properties) since it affects tracking accuracy. In this paper, we propose a virtual platform for assessing the performance of EMTSs for surgical navigation, providing real-time results and statistics, and allowing to track instruments both in real and simulated environments. Simulations and experimental tests are performed to validate the proposed virtual platform, by employing it to assess the performance of a real EMTS. The platform offers a real-time tool to analyze EMTS components and field generator configurations, for a deeper understanding of EMTS technology, thus supporting engineers during system design and characterization.
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