Feature | November 16, 2006

Stepping Inside the World of 3-D Medical Visualization

Software’s holographic images usher the dawn of whole new diagnostic possibilities.

Doctors can walk up to and through an MRI or CT scan, or even

Doctors can walk up to and through an MRI or CT scan, or even

Photos of medical images produced from a new 3-D volume rendering software have the appearance of something from a “Star Trek” episode, but this virtual reality system is 100 percent reality and heading for the European healthcare market place.
Scientists at Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, have developed I-space, which is capable of converting 2-D medical images acquired from conventional imaging modalities (such as MR, CT and ultrasound) into 3-D images with which doctors can truly interact. For the commercial launch of the I-space model, the medical center chose Barco projectors and SGI's Silicon Graphics Prism visualization systems as image generators to create the four-sided, 3-by-3-by-3 meter, 3-D images, according to a press release.
Crosslinks, the company created by the Erasmus University MC, is beginning to market I-space to hospitals in Europe in collaboration with SGI and Barco.
“We built I-space ourselves in collaboration with the folks from SGI and Barco,” said I-space inventor professor Dr. Peter van der Spek, a geneticist by training who is also an engineer. “Barco has the projectors, but the Silicon Graphics Prism has all the graphics pipes that superbly work together with Barco. It's cutting-edge technology and the power of Intel inside the Prism system is also very important for us, so we are very, very happy with the technology that drives I-space.”
Providing multiple clinical applications in which physicians can literally walk up to and through still and real-time images, I-space offers the important opportunity for cardiologists to examine cardiac infarction — scrutinizing live, beating hearts within I-space to see which part of the heart is paralyzed due to an infarct.
“It's easier to make a diagnosis together with other medical personnel when the surgical reality is right in front of you, rather than seeing it alone, just on a small computer screen,” said Ronald Nanninga, founder and managing director of Crosslinks.
Technically Ingenious
A Silicon Graphics Prism visualization system with eight Intel Itanium 2 processors, eight ATI FireGL graphics processors and 12GB of memory is used to drive I-space, which uses eight Barco projectors for the four walls: the floor, and the left, right and front.
A 3-D mouse uses four tracking devices — one in each corner, enabling the system to recognize the relative position of the mouse — and a virtual stick, which allows the user to touch an object, push it on one side, zoom in/zoom out and even slice the object. Stereoscopic glasses complete the immersive 3-D experience.
“We can do all kinds of very sharp visualizations, which in turn allow us to do very precise measurements on the MRI scans, on CT scans or on ultrasound images. We can zoom in really close, within the scan, to make it larger...” said Dr. van der Spek. “The very strong graphics capacity of the SGI equipment, including its software and the OpenGL graphics libraries, allows us to visualize, really, life in 3-D.”

Related Content

CT Shows Enlarged Aortas in Former Pro Football Players

3-D rendering from a cardiac CT dataset demonstrating mild dilation of the ascending aorta. Image courtesy of Christopher Maroules, M.D.

News | Computed Tomography (CT)| January 12, 2018
Former National Football League (NFL) players are more likely to have enlarged aortas, a condition that may put them at...
Siemens Healthineers Strengthens CT Portfolio With Four New Systems at RSNA 2017

The Somatom Force with the new FAST 3D Camera

Technology | Computed Tomography (CT)| December 14, 2017
December 14, 2017 — Siemens Healthineers introduced four new...
Toshiba Medical Introduces Aquilion Prime SP CT System at RSNA 2017
Technology | Computed Tomography (CT)| December 13, 2017
December 13, 2017 — Toshiba Medical, a Canon Group company, introduced its new Aquilion Prime SP...
Philips Debuts IQon Elite Spectral CT Scanner at RSNA 2017
Technology | Computed Tomography (CT)| December 11, 2017
At the 2017 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Annual Meeting, Philips unveiled the IQon Elite Spectral CT,...
Toshiba Highlights Ultra-High Resolution CT at RSNA 2017
News | Computed Tomography (CT)| December 06, 2017
Toshiba Medical, a Canon Group company, showcased the Aquilion Precision, what it calls the world’s first ultra-high...
Samsung Unveils Mobile CT OmniTom at RSNA 2017
Technology | Computed Tomography (CT)| November 26, 2017
Samsung Electronics debuted its OmniTom mobile 16-slice computed tomography (CT) scanner at the Radiological Society of...
Siemens Healthineers Announces First U.S. Installs of Somatom go.Up CT System
News | Computed Tomography (CT)| November 15, 2017
November 15, 2017 — Center for Diagnostic Imaging (CDI), one of the nation’s largest providers of diagnostic imaging
Medis Releases QAngio CT v3.1
Technology | Computed Tomography (CT)| October 09, 2017
Medis has released a new version of its QAngio CT (computed tomography), which can now be launched from the Medis Suite...
Hitachi Supria True64 CT Receives FDA Clearance
Technology | Computed Tomography (CT)| September 15, 2017
Hitachi Healthcare Americas Inc. announced it has attained U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(k) clearance to...
Orange County, Calif. Hospital Adopts Siemens Somatom Force CT for Cardiac Imaging
News | Computed Tomography (CT)| September 12, 2017
Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian recently became the first hospital in Orange County, Calif., to install the Siemens...
Overlay Init