How ASL assists neurosurgeons and robots


[Brain deformation simulation]

Free and open source multiphysics simulation software package ASL (Advanced Simulation Library) was successfully utilized in the cognitive and diagnostics module of the medical robot developed within the framework of the ACTIVE project. Simulation of the brain shift process during a craniotomy procedure was implemented to facilitate robot-assisted awake neurosurgery.

Despite the fact that it incorporates many physical effects into the underlying mathematical model, operates on a large simulation domain with high resolution – it is 100 times faster than the real time even if deployed on a regular laptop. This remarkable performance allowed to determine unknown patient and operation specific model parameters intra-operatively “on the fly” through iterative smart guessing and subsequent calibration of the intermediate results with the stereo camera observations.


[Skull with brain immersed into cerebrospinal fluid]

This way a full picture of brain deformation was generated, which is otherwise not available to the surgeon through direct examination by means of ultra sound, video cameras or MRI. This synthesized information, as common in image guided surgery, is used by the robot and/or physician for navigation, operative planning and identifying the target location.


[Skull with an opening]

Advanced Simulation Library is a free and open source multiphysics simulation software package. Its computational engine is based, among others, on the Lattice Boltzmann Methods and is written in OpenCL which enable extraordinarily efficient deployment on a variety of massively parallel architectures, ranging from inexpensive FPGAs, DSPs and GPUs up to heterogeneous clusters and supercomputers. The engine is hidden entirely behind C++ classes, so that no OpenCL knowledge is required from application programmers. ASL can be utilized to model various coupled physical and chemical phenomena and employed in a multitude of fields: computational fluid dynamics, virtual sensing, industrial process data validation and reconciliation, image-guided surgery, computer-aided engineering, high-performance scientific computing, crystallography, etc..


[Multicomponent flow]

ASL is distributed under the free GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL) with an optional commercial license. Following its recent source code release ASL entered all major Linux distributions in record time.

Source: ASL