Polaris Vega

The Polaris Vega® optical measurement solution provides real-time 3D position tracking of markers attached to tools. Using near-infrared (IR) light to track passive or active wireless markers, the Polaris Vega can track multiple wireless tools at once within a large pre-calibrated measurement volume. Measurement data are captured with sub-millimetre accuracy and repeatability for integration into OEM customers’ most challenging—and groundbreaking—tool navigation and visualization applications.

Polaris Vega Advantages

  • Exceptional Accuracy
    Track tool position and orientation with unmatched accuracy and precision. The Polaris Vega delivers volumetric accuracy to 0.12 mm RMS, and 95% confidence interval accuracy to 0.20 mm, making it twice as accurate as its predecessor, the Polaris Spectra®.
  • Faster Measurement Rate
    Increase the frequency (frame) rate at which tool tracking data are collected and processed. The optional MR250 feature increases the Polaris Vega measurement rate from 60 Hz to 250 Hz.
  • Ethernet Connectivity
    Stream data from the Polaris Vega to your OEM application via Gigabit Ethernet, as powered by POE (Power Over Ethernet). Ethernet is a widely-accepted and expandable network protocol.
  • Backward Compatibility
    Preserve your investment in Polaris technology. The Polaris Vega leverages API functionality to maintain backward compatibility with your existing OEM applications without extensive integration work. Upgrade seamlessly to the Polaris Vega while maintaining full operability.
  • Large Tracking Volume
    Create a larger tracking volume for applications that require a clear view of multiple tools at once. The optional Extended Pyramid Volume provides a measurement volume that almost doubles the size of the (standard) Pyramid Volume.
  • Marker Spheres
    Continue using the same markers and spheres for your existing tracking applications – the Polaris Vega supports the following marker types: NDI Passive Spheres™, NDI Disposable Reflective Marker Spheres, NDI Active IRED Markers, and Radix™ Lenses.

Optical Tracking Technology

The Polaris Vega® is an optical measurement solution that uses near-infrared (IR) light to calculate the 3D positions of markers attached to tools.

For passive optical tracking, the Polaris Vega unit floods the measurement volume with IR light emitted from its illuminators. This light is reflected back to the IR sensors by retro-reflective markers attached to tools.

In active wireless tracking, the illuminators emit high frequency ‘chirps’ that activate IRED markers on the active wireless tools; i.e. the IRED markers emit their own light rather than reflect it.

The reflected or emitted light is detected by the IR sensors, which determine the markers’ 3D coordinates via triangulation. Coordinate data are mapped to the associated tool and used to calculate the tool’s position and orientation. These data are communicated to the host OEM application for integration into tool navigation and visualization workflows.

The measurement volume is flooded with IR light. This light is reflected back to the IR sensors by retro-reflective markers attached to tools.

The reflected light is detected by the IR sensors, which determine the marker’s 3D coordinates via triangulation.

The coordinate data are mapped to the associated tool, and used to calculate the position and orientation of the tool.

Exceptional Sub-Millimetre Accuracy

Measurement accuracy and reliability are the cornerstones of all NDI solutions, which are evident throughout the design, manufacture, and integration of the Polaris Vega.

  • Characterization
    The Polaris Vega’s camera model is based on proprietary algorithms that maximize spatial measurement accuracy, as based on over 35 years of research.
  • Manufacturing Process
    The Polaris Vega is built and tested to stringent internal and external criteria, including numerous ISO, UL, CSA, and EC regulatory and industry standards.
  • Factory Calibration
    The accuracy and repeatability of 3D positions are tested and certified using a coordinate measurement machine (CMM), the results of which are NIST traceable.
  • Marker Spheres
    The Polaris Vega uses NDI Passive Spheres as well as NDI Disposable Reflective Marker Spheres to pinpoint tool positions. The sphere’s consistent shape and surface provide optimal reflective properties for precise tool tracking.
  • Interconnected Measurement Solution
    The Polaris Vega and NDI Passive Sphere (or NDI Disposable Reflective Marker Sphere) work together to maximize measurement performance, with the unique properties of one product accentuating the benefits of the other.
  • OEM Industry Partnerships
    Our customers are the experts on how to integrate optical tracking technology into surgical navigation workflow. That insight has helped NDI innovate increasingly more versatile solutions.

Customer OEM Applications

The Polaris Vega enables OEM customers to integrate optical measurement technology into the most complex tool navigation applications.  Here are some examples of how our customers have customized and incorporated 3D measurement data into their system workflow:

  • Neurosurgery
    Tracking data are used to navigate tools in relation to pre-operative images of brain anatomy, which aids in tumor resection and/or biopsy procedures.
  • Orthopaedics
    Rigid bodies are attached to adjacent bones to measure joint kinematics, which allows the depth, angle, and approach of cutting tools to be determined and positioned accordingly.
  • Spinal Surgery
    Tracking data are fused with preoperative images, which helps enable integrated tool visualization and navigation for the planning and placement of pedicle screws.
  • Radiation Therapy
    Movement of the subject couch, and that of the marker block used for respiratory gating, are monitored to maintain accurate positioning and delivery of radiation to the target site.
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
    Attached markers provide a visual reference for navigating the magnetic coil against an MRI image of the patient’s brain.
  • Dental Surgery
    The jaw’s position is tracked in real time relative to preoperative CT scans. This helps maintain the correct drilling angle and depth to avoid the mandibular nerve.

Measurement Volume


Technical Specifications

Accuracy Volume Polaris Vega Polaris Vega MR250
Volumetric1,2 RMS Pyramid:
Extended Pyramid:
0.12 mm
0.15 mm
0.25 mm
0.30 mm
95% Confidence Interval1,2    Pyramid:
Extended Pyramid:
0.20 mm
0.30 mm
0.50 mm
0.60 mm
Best Frame Rate
60 Hz3 (standard) or 250 Hz (optional)
Measurement Volume Pyramid and Extended Pyramid Volume (optional)
Data Communication
Interface Ethernet, RJ45
Communication Gigabit Ethernet
Dimensions (LxWxH) 591 mm x 103 mm x 106 mm
Weight 1.7 +/- 0.1 kg
Mounting Secured via four M4 x 0.7 mm pitch x 10 mm deep threaded holes, rear mount
Tool Types Passive (Polaris Vega, Polaris Vega MR250), Active Wireless (Polaris Vega)
Maximum Number of Tools Load up to 25 tools (maximum of 6 active wireless)
Maximum Number of Markers Per Tool 6 single-face/20 multi-face for passive or active wireless tools
Power Requirements
Power Over Ethernet (Input at rear of Vega) IEEE 802.3at Type 2 (PoE+) compliant
Power Requirements
Operating Temperature 10°C – 35°C
Storage Temperature -10°C – 50°C
Positioning Laser (Optional)
Class Class 2
Electrical Safety EN 60601-1:2012 reprint +AC:2010 / IEC 60601-1:2005 +C1:2006 + C2:2007+AM1:2012
ANSI/AAMI ES60601-1:2005/(R)2012
CANS/CSA-C22.2 No.60601-1:14
Electromagnetic Compatibility EN 55011:2009 +A1:2010 / CISPR 11:2009 +A1:2010
FCC15 Class B
EN 60601-1-2:2014 (4th ed.)
JIS T 06010-1-2:2002

1 Based on a single marker stepped through more than 900 positions throughout the measurement volume using the mean of 30 samples at each position at 20°C.
2 Accuracy stated based on overall volume.
3 Varies according to tool combinations with a maximum rate of 60 Hz.


Legal Disclaimer
NDI tracking and measurement products (listed below) are general metrology components that can be integrated into customer products, research experiments, and/or as components of medical devices that require precision measurement and tracking. While NDI components and technology can be integrated into original equipment manufacturer (OEM) medical devices, they are not specifically intended for a given application and, as such, have not been developed or manufactured in accordance with medical device standards.  It remains the responsibility of the OEM customer or end-user to determine and test the suitability of NDI components and technology for their intended use, including performing any required ethics approval, verification, and validation required to demonstrate suitability and compliance. System-level testing, certification, and validation are the responsibility of the original equipment manufacturer or the applicable end-user and should be completed prior to use of NDI products or technologies in any application.