Augmented reality (AR) surgical navigation systems have attracted considerable attention as they assist medical professionals in visualizing the location of ailments within the human body that are not readily seen with the naked eye. Taking medical imaging with a parallel C-shaped arm (C-arm) as an example, surgical sites are typically targeted using an optical tracking device and a fiducial marker in real-time. These markers then guide operators who are using a multifunctional endoscope apparatus by signaling the direction or distance needed to reach the affected parts of the body. In this way, fiducial markers are used to accurately protect the vessels and nerves exposed during the surgical process. Although these systems have already shown potential for precision implantation, delamination of the fiducial marker, which is a critical component of the system, from human skin remains a challenge due to a mechanical mismatch between the marker and skin, causing registration problems that lead to poor position alignments and surgical degradation. To overcome this challenge, the mechanical modulus and stiffness of the marker patch should be lowered to approximately 150 kPa, which is comparable to that of the epidermis, while improving functionality. Herein, we present a skin-conformal, stretchable yet breathable fiducial marker for the application in AR-based surgical navigation systems. By adopting pore patterns, we were able to create a fiducial marker with a skin-like low modulus and breathability. When attached to the skin, the fiducial marker was easily identified using optical recognition equipment and showed skin-conformal adhesion when stretched and shrunk repeatedly. As such, we believe the marker would be a good fiducial marker candidate for patients under surgical navigation systems.
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