Senior Software Engineer, Olympus Veran Technologies
The lung is a constantly moving object. It moves all the time. And it moves a lot.
This was the reality that most surprised Scott Pfeifer, Senior Software Engineer for Veran Medical Technologies™, when he joined nine years ago. “It’s a huge challenge to ensure the best visualization so that the software can give the physician good navigation,” he says, regarding the bronchoscopy equipment used to help physicians find potentially cancerous lesions. “The toughest thing to get right is the registration,” he says, about the process of transforming different sets of image data into one coordinate system.
“We use pads on the person and pads on the device in real-time, and the software helps make sense of the physical space and image space, while it’s constantly correcting the registration.”
The development of single-use bronchoscopes and navigational tools and instruments requires top software talent, and Scott says his team is amazing to work with. We have the inspiration (inhalation) scan and the expiration (exhalation) scan, and the same point can be several centimeters apart from one another between the inhalation and exhalation, depending on the airway. “That might be fine if you’re going after a nodule that’s 3cm,” Scott says, “but we’re looking at tackling cancer in much earlier stages. We want nodules with diameters we measure in millimeters. Veran was already doing that before I joined, and it’s impressive work. I’m proud to be part of it.”
Working with the mechanical engineering team through the development of a new instrument is also a big part of Scott’s job. “All those instruments have to be calibrated, so we know where the sensor is inside the instrument – and it has to track exactly as needed with the software, which is how it gets visualized, how it gets represented.”
Scott has been interested in software since his youth and says that it all gelled for him at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA, where the concentration of like-minded people, committed to technology innovation was exactly the right culture for him. To blow off steam, Scott likes skiing and mountain biking, as well as playing volleyball. He loves life in Golden, and he knows there is exciting work on the horizon for Veran and Olympus®.