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Virtual reality in advanced medical immersive imaging: a workflow for introducing virtual reality as a supporting tool in medical imaging

  • Knodel, Markus M.1
  • Lemke, Babett1
  • Lampe, Michael1
  • Hoffer, Michael1
  • Gillmann, Clarissa2
  • Uder, Michael2
  • Hillengaß, Jens3, 4
  • Wittum, Gabriel1, 5
  • Bäuerle, Tobias2
  • 1 Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Goethe Center for Scientific Computing (GCSC), Kettenhofweg 139, Frankfurt, 60325, Germany , Frankfurt (Germany)
  • 2 Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute of Radiology, University Medical Center Erlangen, Palmsanlage 5, Erlangen, 91054, Germany , Erlangen (Germany)
  • 3 Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, Medizinische Klinik, Abteilung Innere Medizin V, Im Neuenheimer Feld 410, Heidelberg, 69120, Germany , Heidelberg (Germany)
  • 4 Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Department of Medicine, Elm and Carlton Streets, Buffalo, NY, USA , Buffalo (United States)
  • 5 King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, KAUST, Applied Mathematics and Computational Science, Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science and Engineering Division, Thuwal, 23955, Saudi Arabia , Thuwal (Saudi Arabia)
Published Article
Computing and Visualization in Science
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Publication Date
Feb 27, 2018
DOI: 10.1007/s00791-018-0292-3
Springer Nature


Radiologic evaluation of images from computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging for diagnostic purposes is based on the analysis of single slices, occasionally supplementing this information with 3D reconstructions as well as surface or volume rendered images. However, due to the complexity of anatomical or pathological structures in biomedical imaging, innovative visualization techniques are required to display morphological characteristics three dimensionally. Virtual reality is a modern tool of representing visual data, The observer has the impression of being “inside” a virtual surrounding, which is referred to as immersive imaging. Such techniques are currently being used in technical applications, e.g. in the automobile industry. Our aim is to introduce a workflow realized within one simple program which processes common image stacks from CT, produces 3D volume and surface reconstruction and rendering, and finally includes the data into a virtual reality device equipped with a motion head tracking cave automatic virtual environment system. Such techniques have the potential to augment the possibilities in non-invasive medical imaging, e.g. for surgical planning or educational purposes to add another dimension for advanced understanding of complex anatomical and pathological structures. To this end, the reconstructions are based on advanced mathematical techniques and the corresponding grids which we can export are intended to form the basis for simulations of mathematical models of the pathogenesis of different diseases.

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