Bridging 3D Slicer and ROS2 for Image-Guided Robotic Interventions

Laura Connolly, Anton Deguet, Simon Leonard, Junichi Tokuda, Tamas Ungi, Axel Krieger, Peter Kazanzides, Parvin Mousavi, Gabor Fichtinger, Russell H. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Developing image-guided robotic systems requires access to flexible, open-source software. For image guidance, the open-source medical imaging platform 3D Slicer is one of the most adopted tools that can be used for research and prototyping. Similarly, for robotics, the open-source middleware suite robot operating system (ROS) is the standard development framework. In the past, there have been several “ad hoc” attempts made to bridge both tools; however, they are all reliant on middleware and custom interfaces. Additionally, none of these attempts have been successful in bridging access to the full suite of tools provided by ROS or 3D Slicer. Therefore, in this paper, we present the SlicerROS2 module, which was designed for the direct use of ROS2 packages and libraries within 3D Slicer. The module was developed to enable real-time visualization of robots, accommodate different robot configurations, and facilitate data transfer in both directions (between ROS and Slicer). We demonstrate the system on multiple robots with different configurations, evaluate the system performance and discuss an image-guided robotic intervention that can be prototyped with this module. This module can serve as a starting point for clinical system development that reduces the need for custom interfaces and time-intensive platform setup.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5336
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D Slicer
  • ROS
  • image-guided therapy
  • prototyping
  • robotics
  • software

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Instrumentation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Biochemistry


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