Natural interactions for medical image analysis

Interaction-Design Master Thesis

Posts Tagged ‘3D print

Printing Human Tissue

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I was thinking about printing out an actual scan of a deformed child’s skull in real size in 3D. Its part of my augmented 3D interface for radiologists to report and discuss their findings. Unfortunately its still very expensive to print in 3D, but I was messing around with the generated 3D model a bit…. slicing it up was a great idea, because i am saving a lot of support material during the print. So I am down to 2000 sek , thats about 200 euros (from originally 10000 sek).

I think 3D printing will become very cheap and quite common in the near future. Having your personal 3D printer at home and printing at prices similar to 2D paper prints will definitely be around at some point. Therefor I think its not a big deal to suggest 3D printouts for some cases in the radiology department. Especially since we are scanning 3 dimensional bodies, its only natural to look at them in 3D and also touch them. Touching could especially be interesting if the 3D printout is actually a print of human tissue, and so behaves and feels exactly like the part in the patients body. Imagine the radiologist can print out the tumor he/she identified and give it to the surgeon. The surgeon can see and feel the tumor and use it as reference during the surgery – this idea was inspired by an actual fact during some surgeries. There are some surgeries nowadays in which the removed tissue is send back to the radiology department, so the radiologist can scan and compare it to the initial body scan and see if everything was removed as planned.


Printing human tissue has already been done. There is a lot of examples in medicine research to grow bones and living organs to replace damaged body parts in human bodies. Also there are some examples in the arts using “artifical” human tissue. See yourself:

Individually Manufactured Replacement Bones in Clinical Trial (medGadget)
A new way to print bones
Thumbs up for 3D bone printer
Print me a heart and a set of arteries
Printing Organs on Demand
Tiny Doll made of living cells

Biojewellery (jewellery made by growing bone from your own DNA)

Thanks to Matt and Mikko, both their projects here at Umea Institute of Design are really inspiring for this concept.


3D-Doctor a 3D imaging software is already using normal 3D printers to print out models of bones from body scans. Its not real bone tissue… but still very interesting.
Advanced Custom Made Implants
uses the same technology to print custom made implants, but also no real bone tissue.

and here is an interesting article about reproducing the natures complex internal bone structure to produce strong artifical bones.

Written by Jannes

May 5, 2009 at 21:51

3D printing and modeling

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I talked about the reporting part of the radiologist before. Nower days reports from the radiology department are very low fidelity because of technology constrains. The current PACS system are often not able to handle more than plain text and images. In my concept for the reporting part I am thinking of 3D prints… printing out specific body parts (from the alanysed body scan) could be helpful to communicate the findings. Especially in scenarios with surgeons and orthopedic surgery this could be very helpful.

This is why I want to print a 3D model of a deformed skull. I generated the 3D model from an actual CT scan with OsiriX. But even though the skull is from a kid its still a big object for 3D printing. I’ve got an estimated of more than 3 kgs of material, which would result in a price of 10000 sek (ca. 1000 euros). So I am trying to reduce the amout of material now in different ways… I have some experience with 3D modeling from my Industrial Design studies, but thats a long time ago. I having a lot of fun to play around with the the 3D applications and more importantly its actually really inspiring for my project. There is a lot of different ways in navigating and manipulating 3D models in the different applications, and I think I could get some ideas about how to use these methods for 3D viewing of medical scans. So I’ve tried AliasStudio, Cinema4D, Rhino and SolidWorks and will see see if I can implement some of these ideas in my concept. Also this reminded me of the Adobe Photoshop Extended version for medical image viewing. Maybe there could be a extended version of a 3D modelling tool for radiologists?
Here are some pictures of the 3D file I am working with right now. It’s a very complex file with a lot of polygons, which makes it hard to work with.


And here a close-up view from the inside of the skull… (lots of polygons and points!)


Written by Jannes

April 28, 2009 at 12:33

Posted in Phase 03 - Prototyping

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