Visualizing 3D data obtained from microscopy on the Internet.J Struct Biol. 1999 Apr-May; 125(2-3):123-32.JS
The Internet is a powerful communication medium increasingly exploited by business and science alike, especially in structural biology and bioinformatics. The traditional presentation of static two-dimensional images of real-world objects on the limited medium of paper can now be shown interactively in three dimensions. Many facets of this new capability have already been developed, particularly in the form of VRML (virtual reality modeling language), but there is a need to extend this capability for visualizing scientific data. Here we introduce a real-time isosurfacing node for VRML, based on the marching cube approach, allowing interactive isosurfacing. A second node does three-dimensional (3D) texture-based volume-rendering for a variety of representations. The use of computers in the microscopic and structural biosciences is extensive, and many scientific file formats exist. To overcome the problem of accessing such data from VRML and other tools, we implemented extensions to SGI's IFL (image format library). IFL is a file format abstraction layer defining communication between a program and a data file. These technologies are developed in support of the BioImage project, aiming to establish a database prototype for multidimensional microscopic data with the ability to view the data within a 3D interactive environment.