Electromagnetic Tracking

The Aurora® and 3D Guidance® electromagnetic (EM) tracking solutions work by generating a defined EM field in which EM micro-sensors are tracked. It’s the small size of these sensors, and how they can be used in minimally invasive approaches, that have helped medical device OEMs transform image-guided surgery and interventional procedures over the past decade.

Sensors can be embedded into OEM medical instruments such as catheters, endoscopes, guidewires, and needle tip. Using the sensors’ tracking data, the OEM image-guided surgery system can localize and visualize the instrument as it’s navigated through various anatomical tracts. Smaller sensors allow smaller instruments into hard-to-reach areas, and for use during delicate or complex surgical procedures. No line of sight is needed. Track in-vivo instruments confidently with sub-millimetre accuracy and precision.

Continuous electromagnetic tracking of OEM instrument and/or patient positions can also minimize the need for intraoperative fluoroscopy, which benefits procedure time, safety, and efficacy.

Aurora

Our premier electromagnetic tracking solution, which combines unrivalled measurement accuracy and expert customization for the most intricate OEM interventional applications.

3D Guidance

Our quality electromagnetic tracking solution, which features ready-to-integrate solution components and sensors for rapid OEM product development and time to market.

How Electromagnetic Tracking Works*

The principles of EM tracking are the same for the Aurora and 3D Guidance solutions; the differences lie in their hardware components. Although no EM tracker is immune to conductive or ferromagnetic metals, the Aurora and 3D Guidance solutions are unaffected by the presence of most medical-grade stainless steel and titanium surfaces. Both solutions feature proprietary hardware designs and tracking algorithms to augment metal immunity and minimize distortion.

  1. Sensors can be embedded into an OEM medical instrument, where they serve as localization points for the instrument in 3D space.
  2. The Field Generator (Aurora) or Transmitter (3D Guidance) emits a low-intensity, varying EM field that establishes the measurement volume.
  3. Small currents are induced inside the sensors when they enter the EM field.
  4. These currents are relayed to the Aurora Sensor Interface Unit (SIU), where they’re amplified and digitized as signals. (not pictured)
  5. The signals are transmitted to the Aurora System Control Unit (SCU), which calculates each sensor’s position and orientation as a transformation. With 3D Guidance, the functions of the SIU and SCU are performed by the Electronics Unit, which calculates sensor tracking data as positions and rotational matrix. (not pictured)
  6. Tracking data are communicated to the OEM host application interface for real-time navigation of instruments relative to patient image sets.

*Example of an original equipment manufacturer’s use of Aurora or 3D Guidance in its medical device system.

Aurora and 3D Guidance Comparison

The Aurora and 3D Guidance solutions share a common foundation of advanced product engineering, expert integration, and superior tracking performance. However, it’s their differences that provide near-countless opportunities for adapting EM tracking technology to the OEM’s vision for image-guided surgery and interventions. For comparison purposes, the Aurora Planar 20-20 Field Generator and 3D Guidance Mid-Range Transmitter, and Aurora 610176 sensor and 3G Guidance Model 800 sensor, were used.

Performance1,2

Aurora

Dome Volume (RMS)

3D Guidance

MRT Volume (RMS)

Accuracy (6DOF Sensor)
– Position0.70 mm†1.40 mm
– Orientation0.30°0.50°
Measurement Rate40 Hz80 Hz default; configurable from
20-255 Hz
Measurement Volume Defined byField GeneratorSensor‡
Measurement Volume/Tracking Distance660 mm dome radius660 mm max. distance

Core Components1,2

Aurora

Dome Volume (RMS)

3D Guidance

MRT Volume (RMS)

Number of Core Components4: Field Generator, Sensor Interface Unit, System Control Unit, Sensor3: Transmitter, Electronics Unit, Sensor
Implementation FormatConfiguration RequiredReady-to-Use
Dimensions (LxWxH)Planar 20-20 FG:
200 x 200 x 71 mm
MRT:
96 x 96 x 96 mm
WeightPlanar 20-20 FG: 2.6 kgMRT: 2.3 kg
Number of Standard Field Generators or Transmitters52
Number of Standard Sensors95
Number of Ready-to-Use Tools61

Sensor Tracking

Aurora

Dome Volume (RMS)

3D Guidance

MRT Volume (RMS)

Sensor Format Integration RequiredFully Assembled
Sensor Type 6DOF and 5DOF6DOF only
Disposable or
Reusable Sensors
Disposable and ReusableReusable
Maximum Number of
Tracked Sensors
Up to 32 5DOF or
16 6DOF sensors*
Up to 16 6DOF sensors**
Simultaneous Tracking of Different Sensor Models Yes†Yes‡

1Aurora performance and core components values based on Planar 20-20 FG.
23D Guidance performance and core components values based on Mid-Range Transmitter.
*Depending on SCU/SIU configuration.
**Depending on the number of electronics units.
†Overall tracking accuracy will vary based on the combination of sensors and FG used.
‡Overall tracking distance will vary based on the combination of sensors and transmitter used.

Compare Optical and Electromagnetic Tracking Technology

Technology Comparison

Compare our Electromagnetic Tracking and Optical Measurement Solutions.

Legal Disclaimer
NDI tracking and measurement products 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 the use of NDI products or technologies in any application.