JULY 9--The US Patent and Trademark Office has issued medical imaging software company Vital Images Inc. (Minneapolis, MN; www.vitalimages.com) pat. #6,219,059--Interactive Control of Voxel Attributes Using Selectable Characteristics. The patent protects the user interface and mechanism used by Vitrea 2--a Vital Images software product to control the relative transparency of 3-D data in volume renderings of medical images. "The goal of Vital Images is to bring advanced 3-D diagnostic imaging to the day-to-day practice of radiology," said Albert Emola, Vital Images president and chief executive officer.
Volume rendering is an advanced technique for displaying two- or three-dimensional views on a computer screen. It permits the direct display of all of the imaging data without mathematical modeling and allows interactive control of the level of "transparency" of the data. Volume rendering is a powerful and flexible method of visualization, but can be difficult for a new user to control. Vitrea 2's user interface and control mechanism have proven intuitive for radiologists making the transition from reviewing 2-D CT and MR images to 3-D navigable images.