IGSTK User Group Meeting

February 23, 2012

The sixth IGSTK user group meeting took place in San Diego, CA on Feburary 4, 2012 in conjunction with the SPIE Medical Imaging conference. The meeting was attended by participants from Princess Margaret Hospital, Polytechnic Institute of Milan, University of Bern, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Children’s National Medical Center, Arizona State University, and Kitware. Following the previous years’ format, the first part of the meeting was dedicated to short updates on the toolkit from the core developers. Dr. Kevin Cleary, Technical Director of the Bioengineering Initiative at Children’s National Medical Center, opened the meeting by welcoming the participants. He briefly presented the history of the project and identified the main focus of project for the coming year, which includes:

  • IGSTK 5.0 Release
  • 3rd edition of IGSTK: The Book
  • Continued user support and new features

Dr. Ziv Yaniv, Principal Investigator at Children’s National Medical Center, described the new, on-going developments in IGSTK as related to video support. Dr. Andinet Enquobahrie, Technical Lead at Kitware, announced the big transition to using a Git repository source code control system. He described the Git workflow that IGSTK will be following and discussed how the transition would help engage the user community more, improve the release process and granularity, and facilitate code reviews.

The second part of the meeting was devoted to user presentations. There were several interesting talks, but the one that stood out was a presentation by Stefan Weber from the University of Bern who presented his idea, “Open Source Hardware for IGSTK”. His group develops a variety of easy-to-use reference markers that can be easily integrated into the surgical navigation environment.

The full presentation can be found in:


In the last portion of the meeting, for the first time this year, we conducted an audience engagement exercise (a breakout session) to gather community input and feedback on the IGSTK roadmap. Dr. Kevin Gary from Arizona State University moderated the exercise.  

Three questions were presented to the participants to obtain input on pressing concerns for the IGSTK team.

  1. What new features would you like to see in the IGSTK?
  2. What are the biggest obstacles or frustrations to using IGSTK for your projects (lack of integration with other toolkits, complex programming model, etc.)?
  3. How can the IGSTK team promote better community involvement (discussion forums, more events, community source contributions, newsletters, etc.)?

At the end of the meeting, a summary of the participants input was presented. Here are the main highlights

New Features

  1. Synchronization of Data Streams / Tracking Devices
  2. Multi-layer image overlay (e.g. CT+MR+contours+video).
  3. Support for Time Of Flight camera 
  4. Real-time robot control support
  5. Easy interface for new algorithms with defined input & output

Biggest Hurdles

  1. Deployment
    • Complex external library dependency
    • Frequent changes in the software configuration   
  2. Code development
    • Lack of application-focused tutorials
    • Restrictive API

Project Promotion ideas

  1. Discussion Forums  
  2. Self-contained utility for hardware suppliers
  3. Regular User Group Meeting  
  4. Monthly newsletter

Overall the meeting was successful in helping the IGSTK development team plan for the future. Getting to see and talk with community members is something we look forward to doing more as IGSTK and the community continue to grow. For those that could not make it to the user group meeting, we value your feedback and encourage you to submit your comments to the IGSTK mailing list.


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