Distance Visualization for Interactive 3D Implant Planning

Christian Dick, Rainer Burgkart*, Rüdiger Westermann

Computer Graphics and Visualization Group, Technische Universität München, Germany
*Klinik für Orthopädie u. Unfallchirurgie am Klinikum Rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Germany


An instant and quantitative assessment of spatial distances between two objects plays an important role in interactive applications such as virtual model assembly, medical operation planning, or computational steering. While some research has been done on the development of distance-based measures between two objects, only very few attempts have been reported to visualize such measures in interactive scenarios. In this paper we present two different approaches for this purpose, and we investigate the effectiveness of these approaches for intuitive 3D implant positioning in a medical operation planning system. The first approach uses cylindrical glyphs to depict distances, which smoothly adapt their shape and color to changing distances when the objects are moved. This approach computes distances directly on the polygonal object representations by means of ray/triangle mesh intersection. The second approach introduces a set of slices as additional geometric structures, and uses color coding on surfaces to indicate distances. This approach obtains distances from a precomputed distance field of each object. The major findings of the performed user study indicate that a visualization that can facilitate an instant and quantitative analysis of distances between two objects in interactive 3D scenarios is demanding, yet can be achieved by including additional monocular cues into the visualization.

Associated publications

Distance Visualization for Interactive 3D Implant Planning
C. Dick, R. Burgkart, R. Westermann, 
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics 17(12):2173-2182, 2011
(Proceedings of  IEEE Visualization 2011)
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