State-of-the-Art Virtual Reality System Is Key to Medical Discovery

Architecture of the cerebral vascular network shown in EVL’s CAVE2. - Thomas Marrinan (visualization); Lance Long (photo)

Participants: Thomas Marrinan, Bioengineering Laboratory for Product and Process Design (LPPD), UIC College of Medicine



UIC’s new CAVE2™ Hybrid Reality Environment is only two months old, and is already helping UIC neurosurgeons and bioengineering researchers make discoveries!

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has written an article describing how UIC College of Medicine neurosurgeons are working with UIC Bioengineering’s Laboratory for Product and Process Design (LPPD), directed by Andreas Linninger, on a project to measure and model blood flow in the brains of patients with strokes, and how the CAVE2™ System, developed by the UIC Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL), lets them see things they hadn’t been able to see before.

The neurosurgeons and bioengineers use patient-specific images, interpreted by computer algorithms, to represent the brain and its blood flow in 3D. Working with EVL PhD student Thomas Marrinan, they have pieced together arteries, veins and micro-vessels to create 3D, full-brain models that physiologically mirror patients’ brains. But, because of the limited image spatial resolution of today’s laptop and desktop computers, there was something the neurosurgeons couldn’t see in one particular patient whose cerebrovascular system they were trying to accurately model. Within five minutes of putting the model into EVL’s CAVE2™ System, the chief endovascologist saw that they had connected certain arteries in a way that was inconsistent with anatomy. With that revelation, their model could be corrected.

Read the article, “State-of-the-Art Virtual Reality System Is Key to Medical Discovery”.

Also see, NSF’s image gallery showcasing several CAVE2™ System applications.

In the short term, NSF features this story (and a few others) on its home page.

View the “NSF Science Now” weekly video-zine, that covers the CAVE2™ System - the fourth story mentioned (fast forward to 2 minutes 29 seconds).

One last note… In April 2012, UIC EVL student Thomas Marrinan and UIC LPPD student Ian Gould received 1st place in 2012 UIC Image of Research competition for an image showing the complex architecture of the cerebral vascular network. It is this research that is now visible in virtual reality.


Date: December 12, 2012

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