Chapter 20

3D Visualization for Life Sciences

20.1. Introduction

Stereoscopic and autostereoscopic techniques are not limited to the entertainment industry, and are widely used in numerous scientific applications.

Imaging has gained considerable importance in the field of medicine, where it is used to study organs or organisms in vivo with techniques that allow us to study the inside of the body without intervention: radiography, ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), radionuclide imaging, Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography (SPECT) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET).

Imaging also plays an important role in biochemistry, where it is used for molecular modeling. Using computers, scientists are able to approach the structures they manipulate in an intuitive manner, and 3DTV has increased the ergonomics of the systems in question.

20.2. Scientific visualization

Within the domain of graphical information, visualization is often considered to be the simple action of showing the results of data processing on screen. However, the first meaning of visualization is “render visible”, and visualization consists of constructing graphical representations using data which are not necessarily of a visual nature. Work on visualization often differentiates between information visualization and scientific visualization. In the first case, abstract data are given visual attributes (position, color, size, etc.); the second case concerns the presentation ...

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