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A VRML-based anatomical visualization tool for medical education

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2 Author(s)
Warrick, P.A. ; Dept. of Biomed. Eng., McGill Univ., Montreal, Que., Canada ; Funnell, W.R.J.

The advent of the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) as a portable file format for describing three-dimensional (3-D) scenes has enabled researchers, educators, and students to share anatomical models on the World Wide Web (WWW). The implication for medical teaching is that students can interactively examine anatomical structures and their 3-D spatial relationships by using current personal computer (PC) technology. This paper describes the creation of 3-D anatomical models that are accessible on the WWW, using high-resolution middle-ear data as an example. The 3-D models are created by interactive segmentation of the source images (histological and MRI sections) and 3-D surface reconstruction. The resulting models are translated into VRML format. Section images can be superimposed on the model, allowing students to view a section in its 3-D context. To enhance the viewing of these scenes, a VRML browser was modified to support transparent rendering of surfaces. Finally, a WWW interface was designed to allow users to choose the model structures, section images, and associated viewing parameters to build their own 3-D scenes.

Published in:

Information Technology in Biomedicine, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:2 ,  Issue: 2 )