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  1. Telecystoscopy can lower the barrier to access critical urologic diagnostics for patients around the world. A major challenge for robotic control of flexible cystoscopes and intuitive teleoperation is the pose estimation of the scope tip. We propose a novel real-time camera localization method using video recordings from a prior cystoscopy and 3D bladder reconstruction to estimate cystoscope pose within the bladder during follow-up telecystoscopy. We map prior video frames into a low-dimensional space as a dictionary so that a new image can be likewise mapped to efficiently retrieve its nearest neighbor among the dictionary images. The cystoscope pose is then estimated by the correspondence among the new image, its nearest dictionary image, and the prior model from 3D reconstruction. We demonstrate performance of our methods using bladder phantoms with varying fidelity and a servo-controlled cystoscope to simulate the use case of bladder surveillance through telecystoscopy. The servo-controlled cystoscope with 3 degrees of freedom (angulation, roll, and insertion axes) was developed for collecting cystoscope videos from bladder phantoms. Cystoscope videos were acquired in a 2.5D bladder phantom (bladder-shape cross-section plus height) with a panorama of a urothelium attached to the inner surface. Scans of the 2.5D phantom were performed in separatemore »arc trajectories each of which is generated by actuation on the angulation with a fixed roll and insertion length. We further included variance in moving speed, imaging distance and existence of bladder tumors. Cystoscope videos were also acquired in a water-filled 3D silicone bladder phantom with hand-painted vasculature. Scans of the 3D phantom were performed in separate circle trajectories each of which is generated by actuation on the roll axis under a fixed angulation and insertion length. These videos were used to create 3D reconstructions, dictionary sets, and test data sets for evaluating the computational efficiency and accuracy of our proposed method in comparison with a method based on global Scale-Invariant Feature Transform (SIFT) features, named SIFT-only. Our method can retrieve the nearest dictionary image for 94–100% of test frames in under 55[Formula: see text]ms per image, whereas the SIFT-only method can only find the image match for 56–100% of test frames in 6000–40000[Formula: see text]ms per image depending on size of the dictionary set and richness of SIFT features in the images. Our method, with a speed of around 20 Hz for the retrieval stage, is a promising tool for real-time image-based scope localization in robotic cystoscopy when prior cystoscopy images are available.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 14, 2023
  2. In a search for eclipsing white dwarfs using the Zwicky Transient Facility lightcurves, we identified a deep eclipsing white dwarf with a dark, substellar companion. The lack of an infrared excess and an orbital period of 10 hours made this a potential exoplanet candidate. We obtained high-speed photometry and radial velocity measurements to characterize the system. The white dwarf has a mass of 0.50±0.02M⊙ and a temperature of 10900±200K. The companion has a mass of 0.059±0.004M⊙ and a small radius of 0.0783±0.0013R⊙. It is one of the smallest transiting brown dwarfs known and likely old, ≳8Gyr. The ZTF discovery efficiency of substellar objects transiting white dwarfs is limited by the number of epochs and as ZTF continues to collect data we expect to find more of these systems. This will allow us to measure period and mass distributions and allows us to understand the formation channels of white dwarfs with substellar companions.
  3. Freeze casting under external fields (magnetic, electric, or acoustic) produces porous materials having local, regional, and global microstructural order in specific directions. In freeze casting, porosity is typically formed by the directional solidification of a liquid colloidal suspension. Adding external fields to the process allows for structured nucleation of ice and manipulation of particles during solidification. External control over the distribution of particles is governed by a competition of forces between constitutional supercooling and electromagnetism or acoustic radiation. Here, we review studies that apply external fields to create porous ceramics with different microstructural patterns, gradients, and anisotropic alignments. The resulting materials possess distinct gradient, core–shell, ring, helical, or long-range alignment and enhanced anisotropic mechanical properties.