The Kinect as an interventional tracking system

Xiang L. Wang, Philipp J. Stolka, Emad Boctor, Gregory Hager, Michael Choti

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

19 Scopus citations


This work explores the suitability of low-cost sensors for "serious" medical applications, such as tracking of interventional tools in the OR, for simulation, and for education. Although such tracking - i.e. the acquisition of pose data e.g. for ultrasound probes, tissue manipulation tools, needles, but also tissue, bone etc. - is well established, it relies mostly on external devices such as optical or electromagnetic trackers, both of which mandate the use of special markers or sensors attached to each single entity whose pose is to be recorded, and also require their calibration to the tracked entity, i.e. the determination of the geometric relationship between the marker's and the object's intrinsic coordinate frames. The Microsoft Kinect sensor is a recently introduced device for full-body tracking in the gaming market, but it was quickly hacked - due to its wide range of tightly integrated sensors (RGB camera, IR depth and greyscale camera, microphones, accelerometers, and basic actuation) - and used beyond this area. As its field of view and its accuracy are within reasonable usability limits, we describe a medical needle-tracking system for interventional applications based on the Kinect sensor, standard biopsy needles, and no necessary attachments, thus saving both cost and time. Its twin cameras are used as a stereo pair to detect needle-shaped objects, reconstruct their pose in four degrees of freedom, and provide information about the most likely candidate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2012
Subtitle of host publicationImage-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling
StatePublished - May 1 2012
EventMedical Imaging 2012: Image-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Feb 5 2012Feb 7 2012

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherMedical Imaging 2012: Image-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Image-guided
  • Kinect
  • calibration
  • interventional
  • low-cost
  • stereo camera
  • tracking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'The Kinect as an interventional tracking system'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this