In the past two weeks there were several interesting lectures and seminars I will try to briefly cover here. Firstly, Dr. L.P. Nolte (University of Bern, Switzerland) held a seminar on Smart Device Technology for Orthopaedic Surgery. He went through the milestones of the field (1987 Robodoc, 1994 first free-hand navigation, etc.) He presented the concept of image-free surgical navigation in TKR operations, and showed their work with mobile isocentric C-arm 3D fluoroscopy and the Marvin research platform they have. He identified the main challenges of the field as:
- Finding new registration method
- Work flow optimization
- Non invasive referencing
- Automated computation of surrogate variables
- Extensive use of sensors and actuators
He talked about smart implants and micro sensors for Tool bending and instrument deformation sensing via tracking, sensors built in the meniscus and the vertebra to measure the load and many other surgical applications of results from fields such as mechatronics, micro-sensor and actuator technology, microelectronics.
At a lab meeting Ofri Sadowsky introduced the development of their project to reconstruct tomographic images using the cone.beam of a mobile C-arm they have in the other building. This may end up with a cheaper alternative for CT.
Lately Dr. Tina Ehtiati from Siemens Corporate Research presented about MR-based Attenuation Correction for PET. The multi-modality PET-MR machines recently developed combine the high soft tissue contrast of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and the functional information of the Positron Emission Tomography (PET). The quantitative analysis of the PET data requires the correction of tissue photon attenuation. She showed the results of an anathomycal atlas based version and another, where the key is the segmentation of patient MR images to different tissue types and assignment of corresponding attenuation values to the segmented regions.
Finally, I attended Ming Li's (University of Waterloo) lecture on Modern Homology Search. As GeneBanks double every 18 months and there are 600 eukaryote programs running, it is crucial so speed up the DNA related information processing. One of the key problems is to identify homologous sequences. However, as small diversions may still be in the focus of interest and given the enormous size of human genome, there is a computational problem. Serious compromises have to be made between speed and sensitivity of search. After a couple of trials they invented a method that is fast to find local alignments and similarities, using a blast search with optimal spaced seed patters that are always symmetric.


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