While initially famous as a niche technology embedded in the gaming and surreal sci-fi worlds, virtual reality is showing itself to be a much more expansive realm today. And helpful too. From shopping on e-Bay to frolicking with British wildlife, we’ve seen VR in a number of surprising applications lately. Now, those involved in numerous research fields may be donning headsets as well in order to understand the inner structures of project materials and scientific structures.
ZEISS and arivis AG, both German companies with a ‘focus’ on life sciences, are now partnering to bring some futuristic new features to the world of microscopy through virtual reality, with a system called InViewR. ZEISS, long a historical maker of items such as microscopes, and arivis AG, a software solutions provider in the life sciences arena, teamed up to help researchers and manufacturers do something quite simple—to see their data more clearly.
With light-, electron-, and X-ray microscopes produced by ZEISS, large sample volumes of imaging data are produced. These images may be offered anywhere from the gigabyte to the terabyte. Now, arivis has made it easier for scientists to get the most out of their big image data by using their specialized software that allows for processing and visualizing of data as either volume or segmented surfaces. The data they are taking a look at is a bit on the futuristic side itself of course, and with the virtual reality angle, researchers and designers can now take a look inside 3D printed parts and verify that they are accurate and possess the required integrity for their function. Those using the technology can also inspect the parts for porosity—very important especially in 3D printing with metal.
Also using virtual reality, those engaged in the study of neuroscience will be able to immerse themselves in exploring what is often called the ‘connectome,’ a complex map of all the neurons in the brain. All of this and more is being presented this week by both ZEISS and arivis at the Microscopy & Microanalysis tradeshow in Columbus, Ohio as part of the annual Microscopy Society of America conference.
With this immersive type of microscopy, use in a variety of applications is possible. The user dons a headset allowing ‘fly-throughs of 3D microscopy datasets’ just by moving the head. With their controller, different views can be directed, whether up and down, overall, or detailed as far down as the nanoscale.
“The spectator virtually dives deep into his research data,” states arivis in their recent press release.
The users can also explore their specific regions of interest from different perspectives and in spatial context. Undoubtedly, this allows for a much greater understanding of something like parts made via additive manufacturing, as well as in studying other spacial structures, and sciences in general.
As a collaboration between the two companies, this VR application represents not only a ‘pioneering spirit,’ but also a highly innovative one, coupled with the technological leadership that both companies are noted for. The two companies offer a comprehensive support program for this VR system, allowing users to ask technical questions, as well as sharing experience with others involved in other fields and applications.
“It is the common goal of ZEISS and arivis to inspire new users from technology and research fields with InViewR and to expand the extensive possibilities of virtual reality,” states arivis.
While VR technology may have been a late bloomer, taking a while to show us its true potential outside of science fiction, it certainly seems to be taking off now—most likely due to greater affordability and accessibility. With so many uses for Google Cardboard, the release of Oculus Rift, and a long list of mobile apps geared toward the VR market being constantly offered to the public, virtual reality is being embraced as both a recreational device and a tool for developing other technology, accomplishing tasks, and exploring numerous other uses coming to light on a continual basis today. Discuss further in the InViewR Virtual Reality forum over at 3DPB.com.[Source: arivis AG]