Simultaneous localization and calibration for electromagnetic tracking systems

Hossein Sadjadi, Keyvan Hashtrudi-Zaad, Gabor Fichtinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In clinical environments, field distortion can cause significant electromagnetic tracking errors. Therefore, dynamic calibration of electromagnetic tracking systems is essential to compensate for measurement errors. Methods: It is proposed to integrate the motion model of the tracked instrument with redundant EM sensor observations and to apply a simultaneous localization and mapping algorithm in order to accurately estimate the pose of the instrument and create a map of the field distortion in real-time. Experiments were conducted in the presence of ferromagnetic and electrically-conductive field distorting objects and results compared with those of a conventional sensor fusion approach. Results: The proposed method reduced the tracking error from 3.94±1.61 mm to 1.82±0.62 mm in the presence of steel, and from 0.31±0.22 mm to 0.11±0.14 mm in the presence of aluminum. Conclusions: With reduced tracking error and independence from external tracking devices or pre-operative calibrations, the approach is promising for reliable EM navigation in various clinical procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-198
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Robotics and Computer Assisted Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Biophysics
  • Surgery


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