Electromagnetic tracking for US-guided interventions: standardized assessment of a new compact field generator



One of the main challenges related to electromagnetic tracking in the clinical setting is a placement of the field generator (FG) that optimizes the reliability and accuracy of sensor localization. Recently, a new mobile FG for the NDI Aurora® tracking system has been presented. This Compact FG is the first FG that can be attached directly to an ultrasound (US) probe. The purpose of this study was to assess the precision and accuracy of the Compact FG in the presence of nearby mounted US probes.

Materials and methods

Six different US probes were mounted onto the Compact FG by means of a custom-designed mounting adapter. To assess precision and accuracy of the Compact FG, we employed a standardized assessment protocol. Utilizing a specifically manufactured plate, we measured positional data on three levels of distances from the FG as well as rotational data.


While some probes had negligible influence on tracking accuracy two probes increased the mean distance error up to 1.5 mm compared with a reference measurement of 0.5 mm. The jitter error consistently stayed below 0.2 mm in all cases. The mean relative error in orientation was found to be smaller than 3°.


Attachment of an US probe to the Compact FG does not have a critical influence on tracking accuracy in most cases. Clinical benefit of this promising mobile FG must be shown in future studies.

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Correspondence to A. M. Franz.

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Franz, A.M., März, K., Hummel, J. et al. Electromagnetic tracking for US-guided interventions: standardized assessment of a new compact field generator. Int J CARS 7, 813–818 (2012).

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  • Electromagnetic tracking
  • Electromagnetic field generator
  • Compact field generator
  • Tracked ultrasound
  • Computer-assisted interventions
  • Ultrasound-guided interventions