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Home < Documentation < 4.10 < Modules < OpenIGTLinkRemote < BrainlabTutorial

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About This Page

Brainlab surgical navigation system provides a research interface called "IGTLink", which allows 3D Slicer and other OpenIGTLink-compatible software to connect and query images and tracking data through the network. This page describes how to connect 3D Slicer to the Brainlab system.


To follow this tutorial, you will need:

Things We Can Do with Brainlab's IGTLink Interface

  • Query a list of images
  • Query images
  • Query targets
  • Query trajectories (not available in 3D Slicer yet...)
  • Stream real-time tracking data

Establish Connection

  1. On the Brainlab's console, activate "IGTLink". The Brainlab system start waiting for a connection from 3D Slicer as a TCP server.
  2. On 3D Slicer, open "IGT"->"OpenIGTLink IF" and Open "Connector" tab.
  3. Click "+" button to add a new connector named "IGTLConnector". The connector will show up on the list.
  4. Select "IGTLConnector" from the list.
  5. Check "Client" radio button and type the IP/hostname and the port number in the "Hostname" and "Port" text box. The default port number is 22222.
  6. Click "Active"
  7. Check if any message shows up on the Brainlab's console.
  8. If 3D Slicer is successfully connected to the Brianlab system, "Status" in the list of connector shows "ON".

Query Image Data

  1. Open "IGT"->"OpenIGTLink Remote" module in 3D Slicer
  2. Choose "IGTLConnector" from "Connector" pulldown menu.
  3. In the "Query Data" frame, make sure that "Image" radio button below "Update" button is selected.
  4. Click "Update" button. 3D Slicer will send a query to the Brainlab system and receive a list of images available.
  5. Select images from the list. You can select/deselect images by clicking the same item multiple times.
  6. Click "Get selected items". Slicer starts downloading the images from the Brainlab system.
  7. Once the images are downloaded, images will become available in 3D Slicer. You can choose them from the image list in the 2D viewers.

Stream Tracking Data

(If you haven't gone through "Query Image Data" section:

  1. Open "IGT"->"OpenIGTLink Remote" module in 3D Slicer
  2. Choose "IGTLConnector" from "Connector" pulldown menu.


  1. In the "Tracking Control" frame, click "Start" button. The Brainlab system will start pushing tracking data to 3D Slicer.

To visualize tracking data

  1. Open "IGT"->"OpenIGTLink IF" module
  2. Open "I/O Configuration Tree"
  3. If you successfully received tracking data from the Brainlab system, you could see "+" on the left of "IN" branch under "IGTLConnector".
  4. Click "+" to expand the "IN" branch. You could see a list of tracking data.
  5. If you click 'eye' icon in the "Vis" column, a locator model shows up in the 3D Viewer.

Contributors of this Tutorial

  • Isaiah Norton, BWH
  • Alireza Mehrtash, BWH
  • Junichi Tokuda, BWH
  • Nobuhiko Hata, BWH