A comparison of different hardware design approaches for feature-supported optical tracking with respect to angular dependencies

Patrick Stüber, Tobias Wissel, Benjamin Wagner, Ralf Bruder, Achim Schweikard, Floris Ernst


Purpose: Recent research has shown that optical features significantly improve marker-less optical head-tracking for cranial radiotherapy. Simulations, however, showed that these optical features, which are used to derive tissue thickness, depend on the incident angle of the IR scanning laser beam and the perspective of the camera analyzing the reflective patterns. We present an experimental analysis determining which is the most robust optical setup concerning angular influences. Methods: In three consecutive experiments, the incident angle of the laser (1), the perspective of the camera (2) or both simultaneously (3, ‘inBeam’-perspective) were changed with respect to the target. We analyzed how this affects feature intensity. These intensities were determined from seven concentric regions of interest (ROIs) around the laser spot. Two targets were used: a tissue-like silicone phantom and a human's forehead. Results: For each experiment, the feature intensity generally decreases with increasing angle. We found that the optical properties of the silicone phantom do not fit the properties of human skin. Furthermore, the angular influence of the laser on the features is significantly higher than the perspective of the camera. With the ‘inBeam’- perspective, the smoothest decays of feature intensity were found. We suppose that this is because of a fixed relationship between both devices. This smoothness, suggesting a predictable functional relationship, may simplify angle compensation for machine learning algorithms. This is particularly prominent for the medial ROIs. The inner ROIs highly depend on the angle and power of the laser. The outer ROIs show less angular dependency but the signal strength is critically low and prone to artifacts. Therefore and because of the smooth decays, medial ROIs are a suitable tradeoff between susceptibility, signal-noise-ratio and distance to the center of the laser spot. Conclusion: For tissue thickness correlated feature acquisition, the medial ROIs with the ‘inBeam’-setup provide most valuable features.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMedical Physics
Pages (from-to)204
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 30.11.2014


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