2013 Summer Project Week:Open source electromagnetic trackers using OpenIGTLink

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Key Investigators

  • Retired: Peter Traneus Anderson
  • BWH: Tina Kapur, Sonia Pujol


The primary goal of this open-source electromagnetic tracker project is to teach and develop open-source electromagnetic trackers, to enable extending performance in directions that existing proprietary trackers do not address.

The physics of electromagnetic trackers only just works. Tracker designers are continually struggling to get enough signal/noise from a small-enough sensor at a large-enough distance for a particular application. Magnetic-field distortion adds to the challenges.

Low-cost high-speed floating-point computation enables use of compute-intensive modeling and tracking algorithms which give improved accuracy.

Approach, Plan

Pete expects to bring last year's hand-built tracker again this year. Pete is partway through developing a USB-based tracker printed-circuit board set, to be demonstrated next year.

Pete's plan for the project week, is to use Slicer to visualize tracker errors versus position.


Pete successfully used his tracker simulator to image the logarithm of goodness-of-fit, -10log10(GOF), into a NRRD file, and imported that file into Slicer 3. Example image is above.

Pete's laptop computer at Summer Project Week has 32-bit Ubuntu, so 64-bit Slicer 4 won't run. Pete is running Slicer 4 on his desktop computer using 64-bit Slackware.

Next: Figure out meanings of the images.

Delivery Mechanism


Pete's published work to date is on Open Source Electromagnetic Trackers and on [http://home.comcast.net/~traneus].