November 16, 2011
Lab Report IX
The Visualization Research Lab at Brown University has been engaged in some noteworthy projects lately. While the images they show appear to be forays into abstract design or art, they are actually being used for some very practical applications: the imaging of brain and bone structures in association with one of their VR systems, called […]
The Visualization Research Lab at Brown University has been engaged in some noteworthy projects lately. While the images they show appear to be forays into abstract design or art, they are actually being used for some very practical applications: the imaging of brain and bone structures in association with one of their VR systems, called CavePainting.
Cave painting, image via VRL Brown University
The CP system, as Brown reports, “uses a 3D analog of 2D brush strokes to create 3D works of art in an immersive virtual reality Cave environment.” The responsive interface of this virtual reality environment is “is composed completely of physical props and gestures.” The applications are not just limited to artistic or humanistic endeavors such as archaeology, but also the science of brain structures and wrist and bone structures.
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Image via VRL Brown University
In visualizing brain structures, raw data is gathered through diffusion-weighted MRI scans, in other words, these magnetic resonance images are weighted with the characteristics of water diffusion. Using water diffusion imaging allows a mapping of the “structure of the brain’s white matter”–the inner parts of the brain. By using the Cave VR system, scientists studying the brain can map and examine in 3D structures that include muscle and tissue more accurately. This will allow researchers and doctors to understand the features and patterns associated with disease.
Images via Brown University GVI
The Wrist project models bones taken from CT volume scans. This research studies simulating wrist motion in 3D. Additionally, understanding the cartilage and ligaments tissue systems helps scientists understand the “and functional deficits for some subjects.” The goal is to improve clinical care through understanding these functions and limitations of both healthy and injured wrists. What’s more, the information gathered here will be extended towards other anatomical systems in the body, thereby improving other diagnoses and clinical treatments that involve the fields of biology, bioengineering, as well as the medical field.
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Sherin Wing writes on social issues as well as topics in architecture, urbanism, and design. She is a frequent contributor to Archinect, Architect Magazine and other publications. She is also co-author of The Real Architect’s Handbook. She received her PhD from UCLA. Follow Sherin on Twitter at @xiaying.