Varjo’s human-eye resolution VR helps Tampere University revolutionize medical imaging

Varjo is partnering with Tampere University as it leads an ambitious research consortium that explores ways to present medical imaging data with new three-dimensional methods. The two-year project leverages virtual reality (VR), multi-sensory presentation, 3D printing, and haptic feedback to provide new ways to interact with large data masses.

Image: Medical Imaging Centre, Department of Radiology, Tampere University Hospital, Finland, and Zhenxing Li, Tampere University.

 

From 2D to the ability to “dive into patients’ bodies”

Digital imaging is an essential part of modern medicine. Magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, cone beam computed tomography, and ultrasound imaging provide information for diagnosis and treatment planning. However, the information technology for producing and processing these images is currently based on two-dimensional slice images traditionally used in the field, although the tissues and structures examined are three-dimensional. And even for specialists, the interpretation of the images is complicated, error-prone, and requires a lot of training and special skills.

Immersive technologies bring completely new possibilities to the field. Varjo is proud to be part of Tampere University’s two-year research project to revolutionize medical imaging. The aim of the project is to allow the representation of complex biological structures and their properties in high-fidelity virtual reality. Varjo’s human-eye resolution VR devices VR-2 and VR-2 Pro are a turnkey solution, as they enable more realistic 3D modelling and realistic visualization of medical images inside virtual reality. Ultimately, this helps accomplish more effective procedures and treatments:

 

“Human imaging must be able to represent complex biological structures and their properties. New VR technologies like Varjo make this more effective, as you can see and experience 3D content in human-eye resolution,” says Professor, Head of Computer-Human Interaction Roope Raisamo from Tampere University.

“For example, bringing imaging data to virtual reality enables doctors to ‘dive’ into patients’ bodies. They can move freely in a three-dimensional virtual model and focus on the demanding points. At the same time, haptic feedback improves the understanding of tissues and their properties. As a result, doctors can concentrate on patient data without having to use a mouse or other hand-held controllers. With virtual reality, treatments can be speeded up, made more effective, and their quality improved.”

Problems in medical workflows are a key reason for rising healthcare costs globally, and there’s a high demand for better technical solutions. This two-year research project will contribute to solving many of these problems. In the case of a single patient, immersive technologies can be helpful firstly in diagnostics, then in planning the surgical procedure, and finally during the operation. In the bigger picture, virtual and mixed reality technologies can offer improvements and insight for quality control, educational methods, and scientific research.

 

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