Active phantoms: A paradigm for ultrasound calibration using phantom feedback

Alexis Cheng, Xiaoyu Guo, Haichong K. Zhang, Hyun Jae Kang, Ralph Etienne-Cummings, Emad M. Boctor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In ultrasound (US)-guided medical procedures, accurate tracking of interventional tools is crucial to patient safety and clinical outcome. This requires a calibration procedure to recover the relationship between the US image and the tracking coordinate system. In literature, calibration has been performed on passive phantoms, which depend on image quality and parameters, such as frequency, depth, and beam-thickness as well as in-plane assumptions. In this work, we introduce an active phantom for US calibration. This phantom actively detects and responds to the US beams transmitted from the imaging probe. This active echo (AE) approach allows identification of the US image midplane independent of image quality. Both target localization and segmentation can be done automatically, minimizing user dependency. The AE phantom is compared with a crosswire phantom in a robotic US setup. An out-of-plane estimation US calibration method is also demonstrated through simulation and experiments to compensate for remaining elevational uncertainty. The results indicate that the AE calibration phantom can have more consistent results across experiments with varying image configurations. Automatic segmentation is also shown to have similar performance to manual segmentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035001
JournalJournal of Medical Imaging
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • active sensors
  • image guidance
  • ultrasound calibration
  • ultrasound imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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