Using digital microscopes, small structures can be pictured layer by layer, generating large data sets in 3D. Understanding and analysing these three-dimensional structures through regular image viewing software, where only one layer at a time is displayed, is very challenging. Even 3D reconstructions shown on a 2D monitor might not yield the optimal visual effect.
With developing MicroVR, a virtual environment to visualize microscopic images, we are finding new ways to evaluate, inspect and analyse these data sets in 3D. Through virtual reality, MicroVR makes the handling of 3D data more intuitive and immersive.
MicroVR is based on consumer-grade head-mounted displays, in which the user can explore the data within the virtual space. This provides the user with a unique opportunity to explorate the data. The ability to move, zoom in and navigate through the data combined with head tracking, adds to this immersive and innovative approach.
MicroVR is based on the Oculus Rifts, which allows a 1080×1200 pixel resolution per eye and a 110° field of view. Through a gamepad the user can interact and manipulate the microscopical 3D data. The volume and user interface are rendered using Unity Software.
MicroVR is designed for light microscopical data, but can also display other 3D data.
MicroVR is currently used at advanced light microscopy Aachen (ALMA): http://alma.rwth-aachen.de/14-micro-vr.html