From 2D MRI to 3D XBOX

Magnetic resonance imaging opened a new chapter in the history of medical diagnostics, but it still cannot answer all the questions. Researchers at the Iowa State University came up with a wonderful solution. They developed a software, BodyViz, that can convert common 2D MRI and CAT scans into 3D visualizations, enabling physicians to navigate inside the body using an Xbox controller.

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.”