Actuality's Perspecta Spatial 3D System shipped to National Institutes of Health to visualize tumours in cancer patients

Burlington 20 January 2004The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, has installed Actuality Systems' Perspecta Spatial 3D System. Perspecta is a revolutionary 3D visualization system that projects images into a globe display to create full 360-degree spatial images that give users the ability to create, observe and manipulate objects as they appear in nature. Perspecta Spatial 3D is installed at the NIH Clinical Center and will be used for research by biomedical investigators from the Clinical Center and the National Cancer Institute to visualize exact tumour location, using stored patient data, for radiofrequency tumour ablation in the liver, and to compare tumour location with treatment location during procedures.

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"Perspecta Spatial 3D ends the clinician's dependence on flat-screen interpretations of critical locations and movement. It is the difference between a sculpture (spatial 3D) and a photograph (flat-screen 3D)", stated Cameron Lewis, president and CEO of the Boston-area firm. "Independent studies have confirmed that spatial 3D is superior to all other visualization technologies in the two most important metrics: speed and accuracy of judgment. Perspecta Spatial 3D is a far more accurate visualization tool which is ideal for detecting collisions and pinpointing precise locations because it gives the user a better understanding of trajectory, velocity, path, and proximity."

Spatial 3D refers to full-dimensional, interactive imagery that occupies a volume of space, much like a hologram. Its application in medicine includes surgical planning, interventional imaging such as aligning a surgeon's scalpel or treatment device with a real-time 3D scan, image-guided tumour ablation, breast biopsy, radiation therapy planning, catheter visualization, and numerous other procedures.

The advances in Perspecta include nearly instantaneous rendering speeds that make it possible for a medical researcher to segment, magnify, and, in seconds, render a CT scan to get a much more precise look at a tumour, a process which used to take as long as 90 minutes. In addition, the system can provide real-time feedback for cardiac or other minimally invasive procedures or enable a researcher to pan and zoom into complex CT, MRI, and PET scans at interactive rates, making it possible for pioneering science to be performed in the fields of surgical planning and guidance.

"We've worked closely with a range of customers over the past two years to refine the system", stated Cameron Lewis. "It became very clear that speed and accuracy were the two most important characteristics of a spatial 3D system and that is what we've built into Perspecta. It's far and away the fastest and most precise spatial 3D system in the world. We see a substantial market not just in medical imaging, but in scientific and geophysical research, for military and homeland security applications, and especially in creating an entirely new environment for gaming."

Actuality Systems has applied the technology to applications that rely on high-speed rendering of 3D images. These include computer tomography of luggage for security installations, and military applications such as LIDAR and SONAR. Future uses for Perspecta will enable military planners to monitor flight patterns over unfamiliar terrain, pharmaceutical designers to quickly identify important regions in drug targets, and inspectors to detect and identify suspect items in cargo containers. The products and technologies described here are not FDA-approved and may not be used for medical applications.

According to Cameron Lewis, systems are currently being built and tested for seven additional customers with shipments scheduled over the next few weeks. The Perspecta Spatial 3D System is available immediately at prices starting at $39.995 for a complete system including hardware and software. Various options are available for support and maintenance, as well as developer tools.

Actuality Systems Inc. develops, produces, sells, and licenses the Perspecta Spatial 3D System and patents for the combination of hardware and software that permits 360-degree visualization, simulation, and collaboration. The system enables users to create high-resolution Spatial 3D images that can be viewed from any angle around the 360-degree dome without the use of special goggles. The company was founded in 1997 in Cambridge and now operates from offices near Boston.


Leslie Versweyveld

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