Virtual Reality in Medicine: New Opportunities for Diagnostics and Surgical Planning
November 4, 2019
For the MIRACLE flagship project at the University of Basel, we developed this virtual reality room. What is unique about this virtual reality room, is, that for the first time we provide volume-rendered images in real time. That allows surgeons and radiologists to visualize their medical image data sets. They can walk around; they can grab the object and reposition it; they can also change the size: zoom in or zoom out. They can also rotate so that they have the best view of the scene. As an additional option, we also gave them a cutting plane. This cutting plane can be used to cut through the volumetric data set, to, for example, cut through the skull or the rib cage; but at the same time, I can switch the cutting plane to CT mode. So I have a plane which can be freely moved around and visualizes the original CT data set behind the scene. This virtual reality room provides a very intuitive way of positioning these cutting planes in 3D space. During the project we realized that shadows are crucial for an increased depth perception. To emphasize this we also integrated an OR lamp into the scene. This OR lamp can now be switched on and we can freely select the brightness. And if we move this OR lamp around, we can see that the shadows caused by the rib cage continuously change with the motion of the OR lamp. And exactly these shadows are crucial for an increased depth perception. This VR room has been developed as part of the MIRACLE project which is funded by the Werner Siemens-Stiftung. It was only made possible with the recent development of VR glasses as well as GPU graphics hardware of course combined with our quite unique volume-rendering framework.