The Robotics Institute

RI | Seminar | February 18

Robotics Institute Seminar, February 18
Time and Place | Seminar Abstract | Speaker Biography | Speaker Appointments

The Sonic Flashlight and Related Projects

George Stetten

Research Scientist

Carnegie Mellon University



Time and Place

Mauldin Auditorium (NSH 1305)
Refreshments 3:15 pm
Talk 3:30 pm



We are developing a new method of interactive visualization, which we call Real Time Tomographic Reflection (RTTR).  In this method, a virtual image is displayed inside a target, overlaid on a direct view of the target’s exterior, without tracking or a head-mounted display.  A clinical device using RTTR, the Sonic Flashlight, has just undergone its first clinical trial for the placement of catheters in the deep veins of the arm.  The Sonic Flashlight combines a conventional ultrasound scanner, a small flat-panel display, and a half-silvered mirror into a rigid handheld device, which reflects the ultrasound image into its actual location within the patient. This permits the clinician to aim a needle directly into the image of a vein, using a single perceptual environment. The current prototype of the Sonic Flashlight is the sixth iteration developed over the past five years.  A number of related approaches are also being explored, including holographic and scaled robotic versions of RTTR.  All of these aim to provide natural hand-eye coordination using virtual images to superimpose some scanning technology onto human vision.  A wide range of applications is possible, from medical to SCUBA to search-and-rescue.  The general psycho-perceptual principles behind the new display technique are being investigated.


Speaker Biography


George Stetten is the director of the Visualization and Image Analysis (VIA) Laboratory at CMU and the University of Pittsburgh.  He earned an A.B. in Engineering and Applied Physics from Harvard in 1976, an M.S. in Neurobiology and Computer Graphics from NYU in 1986, an M.D. from the SUNY Syracuse in 1991, and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1999.  Dr. Stetten wrote the software for the first computer system on board Deep Submersible Alvin at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, designed a telemetric egg to study incubation of endangered birds at the Bronx Zoo, conducted the first classroom in which laptop computers were linked with diffuse infrared light, helped develop Real-Time 3D ultrasound at Duke University, and was a founding contributor to the National Library of Medicine Insight Toolkit for image analysis. He is currently an Associate Professor in Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh and a Research Scientist at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.


Speaker Appointments

For appointments, please contact Stephanie Matvey.

The Robotics Institute is part of the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University.