Iowa State University researchers developed a system to converts common 2D MRI and CAT medical scans into 3D visualizations, enabling physicians to fly through the body using an Xbox controller. Apparently, their software is much simpler to use, and the visualizations easier to explore, than existing 3D medical imaging technologies. The engineers have now spun out their innovation in to a start-up, called BodyViz. Their hope is that the software can be used to train medical students and enable physicians to try procedures before doing them on live patients. The PC software sells for $4,995, plus $69 for the wireless Xbox controller. From Iowa State:
Two-dimensional imaging technologies have been used in medicine for a long time, said (BodyViz co-founder) Eliot Winer, an Iowa State associate professor of mechanical engineering and an associate director of Iowa State's Virtual Reality Applications Center. But those flat images aren't easily read and understood by anybody but specialists.
"If I'm a surgeon or an oncologist or a primary care physician, I deal with patients in 3-D," Winer said.
(The creators) like to quote a doctor who told a reporter that when preparing for complex procedures, "2-D is guessing and 3-D is knowing."