The VOXEL-MAN 3D Navigators are a family of interactive atlases of anatomy and radiology for Windows PCs. The following 3D Navigators were published:
VOXEL-MAN 3D Navigator: Brain and Skull — interactive anatomy atlas of the brain and skull.
VOXEL-MAN 3D Navigator: Inner Organs — interactive anatomy atlas of the inner organs.
VOXEL-MAN 3D Navigator: Upper Limb — interactive anatomy atlas of the hand, arm and shoulder.
Until well into the 2000s, interactive visualization of medical 3D models was only possible on high end workstations. This applied in particular to high resolution voxel models, such as those derived from the Visible Human.
To overcome these limitations, a new paradigm based on pre-calculated interactive scenes of the model was developed. As the base technology, the QuickTime VR format was chosen. In contrast to a linear film, a two-dimensional matrix of images is available, so that the scene can be created and explored with two degrees of freedom.
As a decisive innovation, all images of the scene are extended by a layer of object labels, which provides a pixel-wise link to an anatomical knowledge base. The displayed objects can thus be queried by simply clicking them in the image. Likewise, anatomical structures can be annotated, painted, or searched.
To create a scene, the two degrees of freedom can be freely chosen, for example
- Rotation of the model around two axes
- Rotation around one axis, combined with a stepwise removal of anatomical layers
- Translations of two orthogonal dissecting planes
A user can explore a scene largely with the functionality of a full visualization system, but in real time and with a simlified handling.
- Rainer Schubert, Bernhard Pflesser, Andreas Pommert, Kay Priesmeyer, Martin Riemer, Thomas Schiemann, Ulf Tiede, Paul Steiner, Karl Heinz Höhne: Interactive volume visualization using “intelligent movies”. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics 62, 1999, 321-327.
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