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Feedback: Science Q: Mac medical scientist needs your 3D help!

An Architosh reader writes in describing a request for a medical research project wherein a Mac 3D application would be needed to perform retinal reconstruction using 2D scanned images, converted to vector data and then placed into a 3D space.

We recently received an email request for something out of our league so we need your help. Here’s the message:

I am wondering if you can provide a little architectural guidance for me. Currently we are putting together a proposal to reconstruct a portion of the retina (the thing at the back of you your eye that does all the computation) with all of the cell types. We are proposing to do this by taking electron microscopy images of serial sections through the retina and digitally registering them to one another to stack them back together in a 3D image or preferably vector space. What we want to do is model these structures using vectors and then label each cell structure according to its metabolic class.

Are there any Mac based architectural packages that will allow us to scan in images and then select portions of those images to create vector objects in 2D space and then reconstruct them in 3D space with labels or properties assigned to them? — Bryan William Jones


While accurate CAD solutions exist the best solution for this task may indeed by a 3d modeler application. And just from the description it sounds like such 3D constructions of the layered eye may be constructed of layered, extruded polys and possibly rendered in wireframe, hidden-line, or variably transparent polys.

Some solutions that come to mind on the 3D side are FormZ, Strata, LightWave, ZOOM and Artlantis, among others. For accurate 2D conversion of electron microscopy to a CAD program we are at a loss because we don’t fully understand what this might involve; however, VectorWorks as the best overall general Mac 2D/3D CAD program may indeed fit the bill nicely. From there 2D or 3D poly could be moved to a more advanced modeler (FormZ) and then onward to a very powerful renderer or animation package (Strata, Cinema4D, LightWave, Maya, etc.)

To view links to all of these mentioned apps please visit our Digital Practice Guide.

Offering Help: Have Suggestions or Guidance?

If you can help this reader please email him directly by clicking on the following line: Help Bryan – University of Utah School of Medicine

It is great being apart of a helpful Mac community. Thanks in advance.

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