Simultaneous electromagnetic tracking and calibration for dynamic field distortion compensation

Hossein Sadjadi, Keyvan Hashtrudi-Zaad, Gabor Fichtinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Electromagnetic (EM) tracking systems are highly susceptible to field distortion. The interference can cause measurement errors up to a few centimeters in clinical environments, which limits the reliability of these systems. Unless corrected for, this measurement error imperils the success of clinical procedures. It is therefore fundamental to dynamically calibrate EM tracking systems and compensate for measurement error caused by field distorting objects commonly present in clinical environments. We propose to combine a motion model with observations of redundant EM sensors and compensate for field distortions in real time. We employ a simultaneous localization and mapping technique to accurately estimate the pose of the tracked instrument while creating the field distortion map. We conducted experiments with six degrees-of-freedom motions in the presence of field distorting objects in research and clinical environments. We applied our approach to improve the EM tracking accuracy and compared our results to a conventional sensor fusion technique. Using our approach, the maximum tracking error was reduced by 67% for position measurements and by 64% for orientation measurements. Currently, clinical applications of EM trackers are hampered by the adverse distortion effects. Our approach introduces a novel method for dynamic field distortion compensation, independent from preoperative calibrations or external tracking devices, and enables reliable EM navigation for potential applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7331619
Pages (from-to)1771-1781
Number of pages11
JournalCrop and Pasture Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Electromagnetic tracking calibration
  • field distortion compensation
  • sensor fusion
  • simultaneous localization and mapping
  • surgical navigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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