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VR software lets users explore microscopic images in 3D, ‘Minority Report’ style

As anyone who has ever tried manipulating large photos on a slow computer will know, high-res images can be tough to navigate.

That problem is far, far tougher when you’re dealing with cutting-edge scientific imaging — where current high-end microscopes routinely generate images of between tens of gigabytes and terabytes in size.

“The challenge is that there is no screen in the world which can show you a terabyte’s worth of information,” David Wiles, applications engineer for Arivis told Digital Trends. “Even a high-end 4K resolution display can’t show you close to that resolution.”

For the past decade, Arivis has been working to solve this issue by developing smart software that, in Wiles’ words, works by “only [fetching] those pixels that people need to see as and when they need to.”

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More recently, however, the company has taken its work to the next level by building an impressive, Minority Report-style virtual reality interface that lets users work with volumetric images truly interactively. Called InViewR, the tech lets people travel freely within 3D and 4D images using gesture controls to measure and navigate: opening up new insights in the process.

“Biologists who study the structure and interactions of various organs, or parts of organs, can use this to get a much better understanding of the 3D relationship of these objects,” Wiles said. “It means that you can clearly see how certain structures extend, interact, and connect.”

The InViewR technology makes possible an ultra high-res way of viewing data from Light Sheet Microscopy, Confocal Microscopy, Magnetic Resonance Tomography and other sources in what could be an exciting tool for neuroscience, developmental biology, cancer research, and more.

Due to Arivis’ existing technology, there is no limitations on data size, and no matter how complex the visualization is, it can be manipulated freely in full 90-frames-per-second movement.

“Because the technology is new, we’re still developing the use-cases as we go along,” Wiles concluded. “We’re enabling something that people really haven’t been able to imagine before.”

InViewR is being officially unveiled at the Society for Neuroscience’s Neuroscience 2016 conference in San Diego this week.