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Open Source Electromagnetic Trackers

Goals of the Project

To teach the process of developing electromagnetic trackers for research, to foster an open community of researchers developing electromagnetic trackers, to develop open-source software and open-source hardware for working research electromagnetic trackers interfacing to Slicer through OpenIGTLink.


The easiest way to contribute is to fork this repository and create a pull request. To learn about the process, consider reading the following pages:


  • When reading old tracker papers and expired patents, keep in mind the state of (or lack of) microprocessors as of the date of publication. Before the year 2000, EM trackers were generally compute-bound.

  • has links to archived version of P.T. Anderson's tracker-related PhD dissertation, and also links to archived non-tracker-related material.


  • Project started at 2011 Summer Project Week

  • Frederick H. Raab and Ernest B. Blood and Terry O. Steiner and Herbert R. Jones, "Magnetic Position and Orientation Tracking System", IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, vol. AES-15, no. 5, September, 1979, pages 709-718. Iterative solution for 6DOF tracker, very useful for sensitivity analysis.

  • Frederick H. Raab, "Quasi-Static Magnetic-Field Technique for Determining Position and Orientation", IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Vol. GE-19, No. 4, October 1981, pages 235-243. Direct solution for 6DOF tracker.

  • C.A. Nafis, V. Jensen, L. Beauregard, P.T. Anderson, "Method for estimating dynamic EM tracking accuracy of Surgical Navigation tools", SPIE Medical Imaging Proceedings, 2006. Reports low-cost accuracy-measuring techniques and results for various trackers.

  • C. L. Dolph, "A current distribution for broadside arrays which optimizes the relationship between beam width and sidelobe level," Proc. IRE, Vol. 35, pp. 335-348, June, 1946. The original Dolph-Chebyshev Fourier-transform window article. Dolph-Chebyshev window can give 140 dB rejection in the stopband.

  • Albert H. Nuttall, "Some Windows with Very Good Sidelobe Behavior", IEEE Transactions on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing 29 (1) 84-91, doi:10.1109/TASSP.1981.1163506, "U.S. Government work not subject to U.S. copyright", in particular Figure 10 window for -L/2 < t < L/2: w(t) = (1/L) (10/32 + 15/32 cos(2pi t/L) + 6/32 cos(4pi t/L) + 1/32 cos(6pi t/L)) has first sidelobe at -61 dB and 42 dB/octave sidelobe rolloff.

  • Eugene Paperno, "Suppression of magnetic noise in the fundamental-mode orthogonal fluxgate", Elsevier, Sensors and Actuators A 116 (2004) 405-409. Picotesla noise in 20 mm long 1 mm diameter fluxgate magnetometer.

  • Anton Plotkin, Vladimir Kucher, Yoram Horen, and Eugene Paperno, "A New Calibration Procedure for Magnetic Tracking Systems", IEEE Transactions on Magnetics, Volume 44, Number 11, November 2008, Pages 4525 to 4528. In-system coil characterization using just receiver positions on the plane closest to the transmitter, which makes electromagnetic sense.


Materials in this repository are distributed under the following licenses:

All software is licensed under the 3-clause BSD License. See LICENSE_3-CLAUSE_BSD file for details.

All Works of Art are licensed under the Creative Commons by Attribution 4.0 License. See LICENSE_CC_BY_40 file for details.

Last revision 25feb2018pta


Open Source Electromagnetic Trackers




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