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  • First results working with the Visible Human Male Segmented and classified data set: a reference 3D library of anatomical structures and advanced 3D visualization


In 1989 the National Library of Medicine (NLM), Bethesda, U.S., decided to play an important role in building and maintaining digital-image libraries of the human body. This decision was relying in the recognition that much of human understanding of complicated health and disease processes actually lies in images, not text. The NLM decided to undertake a first project named the "Visible Human Project", consisting in building a digital image library of volumetric data representing a complete normal adult human male and female. A contract for acquisition of the two data sets was awarded in 1991 to the University of Colorado at Denver, with Dr. Spitzer and Dr. Whitlock as the principal investigators. The acquired data sets include digitised photographic images coming from cryosectioning, digital images derived with computer tomography, and digital magnetic resonance images of cadavers.

The Visible Human Project (VHP) data sets have been designed to serve as a common reference point for the study of human anatomy, as a set of common public-domain data for testing medical imaging algorithms, and as a testbed and model for the construction of image libraries that can be accessed through the network [1,2]. After some years, a second phase has begun: the segmentation, classification, and three-dimensional rendering of the data sets, to build complete and interactive 3D anatomical digital atlases.

Recently, a segmented data set based on the images of the Visible Human Male has been put on the market with the name of The Visible Human Male Segmented and Classified Data Set, version 2.0, produced and commercialised by Gold Standard Multimedia, Tampa, FL, USA [3]. Moreover, both academic laboratories and private companies are making research efforts to design and made available on the near future market suitable visualization tools and "3D-printers", to provide the users with a real 3D environment.

All these recent developments open new possibilities also for medical

Additional information

Authors: PORTONI L, JRC-Institute for Systems, Informatics and Safety, I-21020 Ispra (IT);PATAK A, JRC-Institute for Systems, Informatics and Safety, I-21020 Ispra (IT);GROSSETIE J, JRC-Institute for Systems, Informatics and Safety, I-21020 Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 19662 EN (2000) 38pp, Euro: FREE of charge
Availability: Available from JRC-Institute for Systems, Informatics and Safety, I -21020 Ispra (IT)
ISBN: ISBN Not available
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