Java Internet Viewer: a WWW Tool for
Remote 3D Medical Image Data Visualization and Comparison
CHRIS A. COCOSCO and ALAN C. EVANS
McConnell Brain Imaging Centre, Montréal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montréal, Canada
There is a growing need in the research and clinical medical imaging community for Internet-capable tools that facilitate remote data dissemination and interaction. 3-dimensional (3D) medical imaging datasets typically require special-purpose, non-portable, software to be installed and maintained on each workstation.
We developed ``JIV'': a powerful, robust, portable, extensible, and open-source Java (v 1.1) application (applet) for visualization and side-by-side comparison of multiple 3D image datasets. JIV is designed to work through the WWW.
A convenient way to visualize 3D medical imaging datasets is by three orthogonal 2D slices through the same location in the volume. When several image volumes are to be compared, it is desirable to visualize their slices side-by-side, all at the same position in the volume (fig. 1).
In order to provide remote data access with a level of performance comparable to traditional stand-alone workstation applications, the issue of file loading (``I/O''), which is significantly slower, needs to be addressed. In practice, the performance of regular Internet connections is unpredictable; moreover, the transfer rate can vary by up to three orders of magnitude (1000x) among different types of network connections. With respect to how and when to download the 3D image data, the following three operation modes are supported by JIV:
The hybrid mode (see fig. 2) is the best compromise for most practical situations, and can be seen as a predictive download approach. JIV could be configured to first transfer the slices with high probability of being visited by the user (this probability is application and data dependent); such a technique will increase the likelihood of the image data to be already available when the user moves the cursor to a new location.
An online demo as well as the software are available at the Web address in the title.
JIV is a convenient and platform-independent software for the remote visualization of 3D medical image data; for example, it can be used in remote data processing - when data goes to a central, well-equipped, site for image processing and storage. This software proved useful (both remotely, as an applet, and as a stand-alone application) for efficient simultaneous visualization and comparison of many 3D image datasets, such as evaluating the performance of registration or segmentation methods (fig. 3). It can also be used as a PACS viewer in a radiology environment.
Acknowledgments: Peter Neelin, Alex Zijdenbos, Steve Robbins, Louis Collins, John Sled.
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