News | Virtual and Augmented Reality | December 04, 2020

Interactive VR models complement 3-D printing as a faster, low-cost solution for remote planning and collaboration

Interactive VR models complement 3D printing as a faster, low-cost solution for remote planning and collaboration

December 4, 2020 — Materialise NV, a global leader in medical 3-D printing software and services, introduced its new Mimics VR Viewer at the RSNA Annual Meeting (RSNA20), bringing virtual reality (VR) capabilities to its popular 3-D modeling platform.

Medical research in VR technologies has rapidly expanded in recent years, especially for the purposes of education and training, patient engagement, physician communication and anatomy visualization. This research, combined with hardware improvements and cost reductions, have led to an expanded medical market for VR applications.

The VR environment in the Mimics Viewer provides clinicians with a complement to 3-D printed anatomical models, allowing for faster and lower-cost visualization through more interactive models for planning, education and communication.

“3-D printed anatomical models continue to provide irreplaceable value for doctors in the planning and communication of complex cases,” said Bryan Crutchfield, vice president and general manager, Materialise North America. “As VR technologies become more seamless, the technology will have an important complementary role as a faster, low cost option for interactive models. The interactive nature of a VR environment opens new doors for planning, education and communication and allow physicians to easily address more complex cases through personalized planning.”

Existing VR applications have been limited by factors such as the technical training needed to implement the workflow and requirements to tether headsets to a dedicated computer and physical space, which limit opportunities to collaborate. The VR experience within the Mimics Viewer is the first to remove tethering restrictions to ensure compatibility across multiple VR devices on the market today. This feature enables multiple viewers to access the VR experience remotely, while eliminating the need for a physical lab space dedicated to VR technology. By removing the tethering requirement, VR becomes a more accessible tool for collaborative planning and communication.

Throughout Materialise’s 30-year history in medical 3-D printing and planning, the company has leveraged emerging hardware innovations, like VR, to improve solutions for clinicians. With the new VR environment within the Mimics Viewer, clinicians can access a digital tool to create models with improved depth and proportion perception for personalized treatments.

Medical organizations that have already invested in the digital workflows for segmenting medical images for 3D printing can use this technology to extend their digital models to VR headsets.  The Mimics Viewer will require no extra software installation and the user will be able to access cases directly in a secure browser environment.

Registered attendees at the RSNA Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting, taking place virtually from November 29 – December 5, 2020, can learn more by visiting Materialise’s virtual exhibit.

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