NEW: Motion Tracking and Augmented Reality (deadline February 28, 2022)

PhD position in Motion Tracking and Augmented Reality (deadline February 28, 2022)

Imec-IPI is looking for a qualified and motivated PhD student to work on the topic of Motion Tracking and Augmented Reality. This PhD research is part of a larger research effort, the "HoloWrist" project, which has been undertaken with the University of Leuven and the MoRe Orthopedic Institute. The developed motion tracking and augmented reality system will be combined with new ultrasound imaging techniques in order to track the position and pose of the scaphoid bone during surgery. If successful, the use of ionizing radiation during the surgery could be greatly reduced or possibly completely removed. One fully funded position as PhD student is available (4 years, with intermediate evaluation after one year).

Background: The scaphoid bone is the most frequently fractured bone in the wrist, accounting for around 90% of all carpal fractures. These fractures commonly occur in young adults as a result of falling onto an outstretched hand. Incidence rates for scaphoid fractures have been reported to be between 12-29 cases per 100,000 people per year. Scaphoid fractures are routinely fixated by drilling into the fractured scaphoid and inserting a screw that binds the fractured pieces of the bone together. This procedure, known as Percutaneous Scaphoid Fixation (PSF), is a minimally-invasive procedure where guidance of the screw placement is aided by the use of fluoroscopy (see Figure 1). The minimally-invasive nature of PSF helps to reduce trauma to the joint, speeds recovery time, and decreases the chances of infection. However, the PSF procedure is a challenging one for surgeons as they do not have a full three-dimensional (3D) view of the complex wrist anatomy. While fluoroscopy aids in the visualization of this anatomy, the resulting fluoroscopic images provide only a two-dimensional (2D) view, leaving the surgeon with the challenging task of mapping between the image information and the patient themselves. Fluoroscopy also has the negative side effect of exposing both the patient and the surgeon to ionizing radiation.

Figure 1: Images taken during percutaneous scaphoid fixation procedure. Note the different hand poses and the use of fluoroscopy (bottom-right).

Two research contributions are expected. First, the researcher will set up an optical camera system and use it to track the position of the patient’s lower arm in real time throughout the surgical intervention. Second, the researcher will integrate their wrist tracking solution into an augmented reality system in order to facilitate the display of a hologram of the wrist skeleton directly onto the patient. The anatomical accuracy and real time behavior of the system is of the utmost importance and, therefore, the developed methodology will extensively be validated in experimental setups (both in-vitro and in-vivo).

We offer you the opportunity to do full-time research in a highly international and friendly working environment, with a competitive salary at Ghent University, in the context of an interdisciplinary research project. The position comes with the opportunity to work at a top 100 ranked university in the heart of Europe. The position is immediately available and is co-supervised by experts in the fields of motion tracking, ultrasound imaging, augmented reality, and image-guided interventions. Moreover, throughout the project, there will be a tight and close interaction with hand surgeons. As a researcher within imec-IPI, you will publish your research results at major international conferences and in scientific journals in order to pursue your PhD degree. IPI provides ample opportunity for researchers to take initiative in their work and to develop their professional networks.

Profile

We are looking for a highly motivated researcher with the following qualifications:

  • You need to hold a relevant master’s degree (e.g. Master of Science in Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics, Informatics, Electrical Engineering, or similar)
  • Good programming skills in python, C# and/or C/C++. Previous experience programming with the HoloLens is a plus.
  • Ability to set up experiments and work with optical camera hardware.
  • Some experience in one of motion tracking, 3D image reconstruction, point cloud analysis, or similar topics would be a plus.
  • Can work independently and take initiative.
  • Can communicate well the members of the research team.
  • Fluent in English (in both oral and written forms).

How to apply

Please send your CV, motivation letter, university transcripts, and 2 letters of recommendation to dr. Brian G. Booth by email. Suitable candidates will be invited for an interview. Application deadline is February 28th, 2022 but applications remain welcome until the position is filled. For more information about the topic of the PhD itself, please contact dr. Booth.

About IPI and Ghent University

Image Processing and Interpretation (IPI) is an imec research group at Ghent University. IPI consists of 40 researchers and conducts state of the art research in the field of digital image and video processing for a wide range of applications including real-time image and video processing, and machine learning, covering a wide range of application domains, including industrial inspection, (ultra) high-definition video improvement, smart multi-camera networks, mobile mapping, real-time vision and sensor fusion, and medical imaging.

Ghent University consistently ranks among the best 100 universities in the world, including, 69th by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (or Shanghai ranking) and 88th by U.S. News & World Report. The IPI Lab is location on the university’s UFO campus in the center of Ghent, Belgium, a city recently rated as one of the best places to visit in Europe for culture.

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