Interactive visualization and navigation tool for medical volume data

Ove Sommer, Alexander Dietz, Rüdiger Westermann, Thomas Ertl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In order to make direct volume rendering practicable convenient visualization options and data analysis tools have to be integrated. For example, direct rendering of semi-transparent volume objects with integrated display of lighted iso-surfaces is one important challenge especially in medical applications. Furthermore, explicit use of multi-dimensional image processing operations often helps to optimize the exploration of the available data sets. On the other hand, only if interactive frame rates can be guaranteed, such visualization tools will be accepted in medical planning and surgery simulation systems. In this paper we propose a volume visualization tool for large scale medical volume data which takes advantage of hardware-assisted 3D texture interpolation and convolution operations. We demonstrate how to use the 3D texture mapping capability of high-end graphics workstations to display arbitrary iso-surfaces which can be directly illuminated to enhance the spatial relations between objects. Back-to-front 3D texture slicing is used to simultaneously display semi-transparent material densities. In order to enable on-the-fly data analysis, first approaches using hardware-assisted-convolution operations have been integrated. An implementation of the proposed method based on the Open Inventor rendering toolkit is described offering interactive frame rates at high image quality including sophisticated user interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-244
Number of pages12
JournalComputers and Graphics (Pergamon)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1999


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