Virtual interaction and visualisation of 3D medical imaging data with VTK and unity

Gavin Wheeler, Shujie Deng, Nicolas Toussaint, Kuberan Pushparajah, Julia A. Schnabel, John M. Simpson, Alberto Gomez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The authors present a method to interconnect the Visualisation Toolkit (VTK) and Unity. This integration enables them to exploit the visualisation capabilities of VTK with Unity’s widespread support of virtual, augmented, and mixed reality displays, and interaction and manipulation devices, for the development of medical image applications for virtual environments. The proposed method utilises OpenGL context sharing between Unity and VTK to render VTK objects into the Unity scene via a Unity native plugin. The proposed method is demonstrated in a simple Unity application that performs VTK volume rendering to display thoracic computed tomography and cardiac magnetic resonance images. Quantitative measurements of the achieved frame rates show that this approach provides over 90 fps using standard hardware, which is suitable for current augmented reality/virtual reality display devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-153
Number of pages6
JournalHealthcare Technology Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


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