Three-Dimensional Display and Analysis of Tomographic Volume Images Utilizing a Varifocal Mirror

L. D. Harris, J. J. Camp, E. L. Ritman, R. A. Robb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Described is a system for the multidimensional display and analysis of tomographic images utilizing the principle of variable focal (varifocal) length optics. The display system uses a vibrating mirror in the form of an aluminized membrane stretched over a loudspeaker, coupled with a cathode ray tube (CRT) display monitor suspended face down over the mirror, plus the associated digital hardware to generate a space filling display. The mirror is made to vibrate back and forth, as a spherical cap, by exciting the loudspeaker with a 30 Hz sine wave. “Stacks” of 2-D tomographic images are displayed, one image at a time, on the CRT in synchrony with the mirror motion. Because of the changing focal length of the mirror and the integrating nature of the human eye-brain combination, the time sequence of 2-D images, displayed on the CRT face, appears as a 3-D image in the mirror. The system simplifies procedures such as: reviewing large amounts of 3-D image information, exploring volume images in three dimensions, and gaining an appreciation or understanding of three-dimensional shapes and spatial relationships. The display system facilitates operator interactivity, e.g., the user can point at structures within the volume image, remove selected image regions to more clearly visualize underlying structure, and control the orientation of brightened oblique planes through the volume.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-72
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE transactions on medical imaging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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