Virtual reality on the web: the potentials of different methodologies and visualization techniques for scientific research and medical education.Stud Health Technol Inform. 1999; 62:181-6.SH
Academic and medical imaging are increasingly using computer based 3D reconstruction and/or visualization. Three-dimensional interactive models play a major role in areas such as preclinical medical education, clinical visualization and medical research. While 3D is comparably easy to do on a high end workstations, distribution and use of interactive 3D graphics necessitate the use of personal computers and the web. Several new techniques have been demonstrated providing interactive 3D via a web browser thereby allowing a limited version of VR to be experienced by a larger majority of students, medical practitioners and researchers. These techniques include QuickTimeVR2 (QTVR), VRML2, QuickDraw3D, OpenGL and Java3D. In order to test the usability of the different techniques, Mednet have initiated a number of projects designed to evaluate the potentials of 3D techniques for scientific reporting, clinical visualization and medical education. These include datasets created by manual tracing followed by triangulation, smoothing and 3D visualization, MRI or high-resolution laserscanning. Preliminary results indicate that both VRML and QTVR fulfills most of the requirements of web based, interactive 3D visualization, whereas QuickDraw3D is too limited. Presently, the JAVA 3D has not yet reached a level where in depth testing is possible. The use of high-resolution laserscanning is an important addition to 3D digitization.