Inside the Outside: Viewing Anatomical Spaces with Macropanoramic QuickTime VR

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The QuickTime VR object format has been successfully used to provide photo-realistic representation of three-dimensional anatomical structures. This technique creates the impression of holding a specimen and turning it for observation. Another type of QTVR is the panorama, which creates the impression that the user is standing at a point in space and can turn 360 degrees to view the entire surrounding area. Typical QTVR panoramas are made by shooting a series of wide angle photos using a camera which rotates around a fixed point. The images are then 'stitched' together to make a 360 degree panoramic image. The size of the virtual space created in this way is limited (on the small end) by the fact that the camera has to be within the space. Macropanoramas can be made from very small spaces because the photographic technique used is very different. A small spherical mirror(we use a 1 cm. aluminum-coated spherical lens) is placed in the center of the space. The image in the spherical mirror (i.e., a 360 degree reflection of the surrounding space) is photographed using a 35 mm SLR camera with a macro lens or bellows system. The panorama is thus made from a single photograph taken by a camera situated outside of the space. The resulting photograph is scanned, then mathematically converted into the type of panoramic image used by QTVR. This technique was first described by Helmut Dersch who developed the software(Panorama Tools) to convert spherical mirror images into normal panoramic images. We have applied this technique to create macropanoramas of anatomical spaces including the skull and body cavities. Macropanoramas, like typical panoramas and objects, can be incorporated into complex scenes, placed on web pages and imported into multimedia programs that support QuickTime.

Examples of macropanoramas can be seen a on our QTVR web site: http://www.anatomy.wright.edu/QTVR/qtvr.html


Presented at the 13th Slice of Life Workshop, Salt Lake City, UT.