Feeling the way

Visualisation technology developed at LinköpingUniversity in Sweden allows users to feel the dynamics of a beating heart, the turbulence surrounding the fuselage of an airplane, or the field of forces inside a molecule.

Volume data, such as 3D computer tomographies of the human body, can contain more information than can easily be interpreted by sight alone.

Karljohan Lundin Palmerius at the Division for Visual Information Technology and Applications has developed methods to explore volume data using the sense of touch, a branch of science called haptics.

Thanks to new computational algorithms, 3D forms can be freely studied and felt in a natural way by the user, who works at a computer screen with a sort of touch tool. The most common type is constructed as an industrial robot in which miniature electric motors provide feedback to the hand.

‘Different equations are needed for different applications. I am the first researcher to present the dynamic events of a beating heart in a real patient,’ said Palmerius.

His methods can be used to provide a better basis for diagnosis, but also for simulations for doctors to practice on a patient who will then be operated on in reality.

The medical data Palmerius works with comes from the Centre for Medical Image Science and Visualisation (CMIV) at LinköpingUniversity in Sweden.

SAAB has given him access to data from the development of the unmanned aircraft Shark and has created a virtual wind tunnel where the constructor can feel how the airstreams move around the fuselage.