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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Implementation and verification of a flexible optical tracker Semple, Mark Joseph


Despite being demonstrably better than conventional surgical techniques with regards to implant alignment and outlier reduction, computer navigation systems have not faced widespread adoption in surgical operating rooms. We believe that one of the reasons for the low uptake stems from the bulky design of the optical tracker assemblies. These trackers must be rigidly fixed to a patient’s bone and they occupy a significant portion of the surgical workspace, which makes them difficult to use. In this thesis we introduce the design for a new optical tracker system, and subsequently we evaluate the tracker’s performance. The novel tracker consists of a set of low-profile flexible pins that can be placed into a rigid body and individually deflect without greatly affecting the pose estimation. By relying on a pin’s stiff axial direction while neglecting lateral deviations, we gain sufficient constraint over the underlying body. We used an unscented Kalman filter based algorithm as a recursive body pose estimator that can account for relative marker displacements. We assessed our tracker’s performance through a series of simulations and experiments inspired by a total knee arthroplasty. We found that the flexible tracker performs comparably to conventional trackers with regards to accuracy and precision, with tracking errors under 0.3mm for typical operating conditions. The tracking error remained below 0.5mm during pin deflections of up to 40mm. Our algorithm ran at computation speeds greater than real-time at 30Hz which means that it would be suitable for use in real-time applications. We conclude that this flexible pin concept provides sufficient accuracy to be used as a replacement for rigid trackers in applications where its lower profile, its reduced invasiveness and its robustness to deflection are desirable characteristics.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada