Augmented reality (AR) permits the visualization of pre-operative data in the surgical field of view of the surgeon. This requires the alignment of the AR device’s coordinate system with the used navigation/tracking system. We propose a multimodal marker approach to align an AR device with a tracking system: in our implementation, an electromagnetic tracking system (EMTS). The solution makes use of a calibration method which determines the relationship between a 2D pattern detected by an RGB camera and an electromagnetic sensor of the EMTS. This allowed the projection of a 3D skull model on its physical counterpart. This projection was evaluated using a monocular camera and an optical see-through device (HoloLens 2) (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/hololens/) achieving an accuracy of less than 2.5 mm in the image plane of the HoloLens 2 (HL2). Additionally, 10 volunteers participated in a user study consisting of an alignment task of a pointer with 25 projections viewed through the HL2. The participants achieved a mean error of 2.7 1.3 mm and 2.9 2.9∘ in positional and orientation error. This study showcases the feasibility of the approach, provides an evaluation of the alignment, and finally, discusses its advantages and limitations.
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