Student: Elsa-Marie Otoo
The rapid development of technology and medical imaging concurrently over the last 20 years has resulted in an increase in the clinical demand for radiological images. Imaging modalities such as X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) produce high-fidelity three-dimensional (3D) datasets. These image data are conventionally displayed on a two-dimensional screen as a series of slices and there is reliance on the expertise of the viewer for interpretation. The use of stereoscopic displays may offer significant benefit as these provides depth information that the brain usually has to conceptualise, thus reducing its workload. True volumetric displays are in research and development but the computer generated digital models for display can be produced with current technology. The digital 3D models can be readily created from scan datasets derived from medical scanners. They can be used to improve anatomical understanding for students, to help in explanations of diagnoses to patients and also to help in surgical planning and intervention.
With technology being increasingly integrated in life, digital 3D models can be easily accessible through a browser app. Their spatial data makes them a good option for stereoscopic displays and augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) which are thriving fields currently. All the 3D devices work by using similar principles to how the eyes view reality. The body perceives depth through our binocular vision. The spacing of the eyes means that each eye views reality at different angles. This disparity created is analysed and calculated in the brain to create depth. The muscles in the eye work to create vergence. Stereoscopic TV shows multiple images through different angled images either through multiple lenses or polarised lens, while VR/AR head-mounted displays (HMD) show different angled image for each eye to allow the brain to recreate the 3D scene. Augmented reality is the overlay of virtual graphics onto real scenery creating the appearance that they coexist in the same space. Whilst for virtual reality the entire scenery is completely virtual creating a more immersive experience.
The parnter company for this project, Holoxica, has designed a web app “Holoxar” to view 3D digital models online. The company specialises in holography and in particular true volumetric displays. The initial aim of the project is the integration and evaluation of the web app within a typical clinical setting, i.e. with a PACS database or direct interfacing with medical scanners. The application software should enable the user to manipulate and control the display system with ease and reduce cognitive workload of 3D interpretation. Visual neuroscience psychology and learning factors will be taken into consideration to improve the app. The benefits will be assessed in different medical scenarios of teaching, diagnosis, and surgery planning and intervention. The secondary aim of the project is to translate what is learnt to a true volumetric display that is in on-going development.