Interactive Medical Simulation Toolkit
iMSTK - Interactive Medical Simulation Toolkit



iMSTK is a C++ based free & open-source toolkit that aids rapid prototyping of real-time multi-modal surgical simulation scenarios. Surgical simulation scenarios involve algorithms from areas such as haptics, advanced rendering, computational geometry, computational mechanics, virtual reality and parallel computing. iMSTK employs a highly modular and extensible design to enable the use of libraries and codes from these areas in a given application thereby reducing the development time.


Funding support:


iMSTK is licensed under Apache 2.0



Click here for detailed documentation.


The iMSTK Users and Developers can post questions and discuss relevant topics at the Discourse.


Designed more specifically for developers, the issue tracker allows developers to list and discuss issues & enhancements: >

Assign labels to the issues. The description of each label can be found HERE.

bug compilation critical enhancement optimization clean up refactor testcase visualization mechanics device documentation support discussion


  • Git
  • CMake 3.9 or higher
On Linux:
sudo apt-get install build-essentials libgl1-mesa-dev libxt-dev libusb-1.0-0-dev

Getting started with iMSTK

1. Getting the source code

To be able to contribute back to the iMSTK project, the preferred way is to use Git for code version control. You can use the following command in the terminal for Linux/macOS, or in Git Bash for Windows.

git clone

2. Setting up your SSH key

The build process will check out external dependency sources with the SSH protocol to avoid manually entering credentials during the build process. To allow this, make sure you set up your ssh key in your profile HERE. You can find documentation on how to generate and retrieve your public ssh key HERE.

3. Building iMSTK

We use CMake to configure the project on every platform. See how to run it HERE.

  • ##### On Linux/macOS Type the following commands from the same location you cloned the code. This will configure the build in a directory adjacent to the source directory. To easily change some configuration variables like CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE, use ccmake instead of cmake.
    mkdir iMSTK-build
    cd iMSTK-build
    cmake ../iMSTK #/path/to/source/directory
    make -j4 #to build using 4 cores
    You can also use Ninja for a faster build instead of Unix Makefiles. To do so, configure the cmake project with -GNinja:
    cmake -GNinja ../iMSTK
    This will checkout, build and link all iMSTK dependencies. When making changes to iMSTK base source code, you can then build from the Innerbuild directory.
  • ##### On Windows Run CMake-GUI and follow the directions described HERE. You will have to choose which version of Visual Studio you'd like to use when configuring the project, make sure to select Microsoft Visual Studio C++ 15 2017. CMake will generate a iMSTK.sln solution file for Visual Studio at the top level. Open this file and build all targets, which will checkout, build and link all iMSTK dependencies. When making changes to iMSTK base source code, you can then build from the iMSTK.sln solution file located in the Innerbuild directory. If you would like to build on multiple cores add /MP[N] to CMAKE_CXX_FLAGS in CMake-GUI, where N is optional representing the number of cores (without N supplied, the build will use as many cores as available on the device).
  • ##### Phantom Omni Support To support the Geomagic Touch (formerly Sensable Phantom Omni) haptic device, follow the steps below:
    1. Install the OpenHaptics SDK as well as the device drivers:
    2. Reboot your system.
    3. Configure your CMake project with the variable iMSTK_USE_OMNI set to ON.
    4. After configuration, the CMake variable OPENHAPTICS_ROOT_DIR should be set to the OpenHaptics path on your system.
  • ##### Vulkan Renderer To use the Vulkan renderer, follow these steps:
    • Download the VulkanSDK.
    • Download your GPU vendor's latest drivers.
    • Enable the iMSTK_USE_Vulkan option in CMake.