Background: With increasing research on system integration for image-guided therapy (IGT), there has been a strong demand for standardized communication among devices and software to share data such as target positions, images and device status.
Method: We propose a new, open, simple and extensible network communication protocol for IGT, named OpenIGTLink, to transfer transform, image and status messages. We conducted performance tests and use-case evaluations in five clinical and engineering scenarios.
Results: The protocol was able to transfer position data with submillisecond latency up to 1024 fps and images with latency of <10 ms at 32 fps. The use-case tests demonstrated that the protocol is feasible for integrating devices and software.
Conclusion: The protocol proved capable of handling data required in the IGT setting with sufficient time resolution and latency. The protocol not only improves the interoperability of devices and software but also promotes transitions of research prototypes to clinical applications.
Copyright (c) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.