New Software Creates Interactive 3D Medical Imaging

Wow, now that’s what I call impressive technology..

With visuals that clinicians and researchers can not only view head-on, but actually walk around and through, researchers in the Netherlands say they’ve realized the dream of truly interactive 3D medical imaging.

“There are so many applications,” said Peter van der Spek, Ph.D., who led the development of the I-Space virtual reality theater at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam. “The first step is just realizing what you can do with it.”

Envisioning how the technology can be used not only for research but also in diagnosis and treatment decisions, a company spawned by the project, Crosslinks, is working to develop and market the invention elsewhere in Europe and around the world.

Historically, viewing a 3D image really meant looking at the image on a two-dimensional screen and then rotating or zooming in on the image to “see” around the scanned object. I-Space, powered by 3D volume rendering software that digests massive amounts of image data, uses eight projectors on four walls and the floor to create a 3D image in a special viewing arena. Users can then interact with the image, seeing its depth by wearing special glasses with polarizing lenses.