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Neil Fraser, a software engineer at Google, took 9 carefully selected cross sections from a MRI scan and glued them on wooden blocks to create a 3D representative model []. The result is a collection of 60 1-inch cubes, of wich 94 outside faces are simply varnished, and 266 internal faces feature a square slice of the MRI images. One can then "dig" into the brain to carve out custom shapes.

Using touch as well as the third dimension to explore 3D data is an interesting avenue, as alternative interfaces need to be explored as much as representation.

Martin Ouellette is President and Creative Director of Provokat, one of Canada's leading digital adveritsing agencies. For him, infoviz is more than a simple discipline, it's a culture phenomenon.






nice. this could be "interactivized" quite easily: there are "interactive sculptures" etc popping up everywhere, where a special video is projected onto the surfaces of some arranged boxes.

so you'd just need to figure out the alignment etc of the cubes, and adjust the projection accordingly. Maybe using some IR-only visible "magic marker"-tracking codes...
And if more than one projector would be used (maybe 3 or 5), it would be almost as flexible as the real blocks, but interactive, too...

Somebody done anything likewise before?
Does this IR-Magic-Marker exist, anyway? Would be cool for other uses, too... (or maybe something that looks white in visible light, but black in IR?)
This would make "Augmented Reality" feel much more like magic, if you don't see the markers (which are currently just visible Black/White 2D-Barcodes...), as a human.

Mon 17 Nov 2008 at 9:40 AM

This is really amazing!
I want to do this, too!

Did he use the low-res GIFs for this or are there any hires images available?

Tue 25 Nov 2008 at 4:56 AM

Looks great! And talk about a great puzzle idea!

Tue 25 Nov 2008 at 5:38 AM

This is a great way to teach anatomy. It's much easier to manipulate the blocks than a computer interface (for many people anyways).
@ Sven
MRI images are usually 512X512 pixels. Some hi-res images can be 1024X1024 although this resolution is not normally used in a clinical setting due to the longer scan times. The MRI images are in a DICOM format. You can convert them to JPEGs once the images are in a PACS system.

Tue 25 Nov 2008 at 8:27 AM

This is really cool! I wonder if I could do this for a school project...

Wed 03 Dec 2008 at 11:29 AM
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