Interaction Techniques for Immersive CT Colonography: A Professional Assessment
CT Colonography (CTC) is considered the leading imaging technique for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening. However, conventional CTC systems rely on clumsy 2D input devices and stationary flat displays that make it hard to perceive the colon structure in 3D. To visualize such anatomically complex data, the immersion and freedom of movement afforded by Virtual Reality (VR) systems bear the promise to assist clinicians to improve 3D reading, hence, enabling more expedite diagnoses. To this end, we propose iCOLONIC, a set of interaction techniques using VR to perform CTC reading. iCOLONIC combines immersive Fly-Through navigation with positional tracking, multi-scale representations and mini-maps to guide radiologists and surgeons while navigating throughout the colon. Contrary to stationary VR solutions, iCOLONIC allows users to freely walk within a work space to analyze both local and global 3D features. To assess whether our non-stationary VR approach can assist clinicians in improving 3D colon reading and 3D perception, we conducted a user study with three senior radiologists, three senior general surgeons and one neuroradiology intern. Results from formal evaluation sessions demonstrate iCOLONIC’s usability and feasibility as the proposed interaction techniques were seen to improve spatial awareness and promote a more fluent navigation. Moreover, participants remarked that our approach shows great potential to speed up the screening process.
Authors thank the financial support from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology through grants UID/CEC/50021/2013, IT-MEDEX PTDC/EEI-SII/6038/2014, SFRH/BPD/97449/2013 and also the CAPES Foundation, Ministry of Education of Brazil, through grant 9040/13-7.
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