A Journey Inside the Human Body

Medical Imaging

Cinematic VRT – a research visualization technology that enables 3D photo-realistic images to be produced of the human body – marks a quantum leap in terms of 3D medical imaging. The question is how this technology came to be developed.

It all began with the idea of utilizing the effects that have become run-of-the-mill in the film industry for producing realistic-looking computer animations. Klaus Engel, who carries out research into imaging technologies at Siemens Healthineers, even had an exact figure in mind: Gollum, from the blockbuster movie “The Lord of the Rings”. This creature’s realistic appearance can be attributed to the image-based technique of shading. This means, for instance, a spherical panorama is captured using a reflective sphere. This records the current light environment that is then applied later on to all the synthetic elements that are added.

This technique is also the prerequisite for the images that Klaus Engel and his team are creating of the human body. In the past, they would first fiddle around, develop, scrap, and reinvent until they had finally written the algorithms to enable them to produce a computer-based, photo-realistic view inside the body. “Based on the results from the film industry, we called our procedure ‘cinematic’,” explained Klaus Engel. The main attraction is that existing procedures such as computer tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provide the raw data that Cinematic VRT technology can use to generate astounding images. “Cinematic VRT basically operates as a virtual camera. The program makes it possible to hide soft tissue, muscles, and blood vessels, giving a clear view of the bone structure,” explained Klaus Engel. But, it goes even further than this. The person viewing the image can, for instance, hide or add tissue, thereby gaining a completely different view inside the body.

Anaysis and further testing

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