Ascension to introduce breakthrough guidance device to European medical community

Burlington 13 September 2004Ascension Technology introduces microBIRD, a new 3D measurement device that precisely tracks the location of instruments inside and outside the human body at the premier Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention Conference (MICCAI) in Saint-Malo, France, September 26-30, 2004. microBIRD instantly measures the six degrees-of-freedom location of one or more sensors, just 1,8 mm wide and smaller, for applications in medical imaging.


Early adapters are already using microBIRD for the following purposes:

  • it measures the position and orientation of objects in real time
  • it locates tips of instruments in 3D space
  • it can guide flexible tools, such as scopes, to internal targets
  • it controls catheters in computer-assisted procedures and robotics

In addition to its miniaturized packaging, microBIRD is a metal tolerant tracker without line-of-sight restrictions or radiation limitations. Four years in the making, it is particularly adept at locating objects and instruments in confined spaces, especially the human body. In medical imaging and minimally invasive procedures, microBIRD allows clinicians to combine imaging modalities, such as CT, MRI or ultrasound scans, with exact knowledge of an instrument's location referenced to visual images. With microBIRD and advanced imaging systems, clinicians can literally "see" inside the human body.

Recent advances in third-generation pulsed-DC magnetic technology enable microBIRD to operate without error near conductive metal, such as 300-series stainless steel, which is often found in medical environments. A new family of magnetic field transmitters and signal processing techniques further overcomes the effects of other types of metals and cross coupling errors that plague earlier generation AC electromagnetic tracking technologies.

microBIRD is designed primarily for 3D localization and intrabody navigation in medically approved devices, compliant with all regulatory standards. Ascension works closely with researchers and device manufacturers to support regulatory requirements. Ascension Technology Corporation, based in Burlington, Vermont, USA, is an expert in 3D tracking solutions for medical applications.

Leslie Versweyveld

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