Simplifying the Exploration of Volumetric Images: Development of a 3D User Interface for the Radiologist’s Workplace
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Volumetric imaging (computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging) provides increased diagnostic detail but is associated with the problem of navigation through large amounts of data. In an attempt to overcome this problem, a novel 3D navigation tool has been designed and developed that is based on an alternative input device. A 3D mouse allows for simultaneous definition of position and orientation of orthogonal or oblique multiplanar reformatted images or slabs, which are presented within a virtual 3D scene together with the volume-rendered data set and additionally as 2D images. Slabs are visualized with maximum intensity projection, average intensity projection, or standard volume rendering technique. A prototype has been implemented based on PC technology that has been tested by several radiologists. It has shown to be easily understandable and usable after a very short learning phase. Our solution may help to fully exploit the diagnostic potential of volumetric imaging by allowing for a more efficient reading process compared to currently deployed solutions based on conventional mouse and keyboard.