We are excited to announce the release of VolView 4.1, the latest version of our open source medical image visualization application that runs in your web browser (Try it!). This release is packed with new features that enable VolView to be easily integrated into nearly any existing workflow and to provide a more intuitive user experience. Highlights include support for DICOMweb data browsing and transfer, simplified controls and improved quality for cinematic volume rendering, availability as an Orthanc plug-in, and direct access to images hosted on Amazon S3 and Google Cloud servers.

These new capabilities highlight two particular strengths of VolView: 1) It can be added to your organization’s existing web pages, cloud services, PACS, and other applications without having to set up a new server or pay for additional cloud services, and it supports a variety of data protocols. This makes it easy to integrate, scalable, and cost-effective. 2) It provides intuitive and interactive cinematic volume renderings on any platform, including phones, tablets, desktops, workstations, and cloud servers.

DICOMweb Support

VolView 4.1 now supports the DICOMweb standard, allowing users to access medical imaging data stored in PACS servers. DICOMweb support enables the integration of VolView into clinical workflows by enabling users to browse and visualize data stored in clinical systems. DICOMweb servers are also being used for data curation and sharing within and across applied research labs worldwide, and now VolView can help link those labs with their clinical counterparts.

Connect to a DICOMweb server and browse patient data.

Orthanc Plug-in

VolView 4.1 also introduces a new Orthanc plug-in, which allows users to integrate VolView directly into their Orthanc server browsing experience. Orthanc is an extremely popular and powerful DICOM-compliant PACS server that is free as open source software and that includes a web interface. Dr. Sébastien Jodogne, the leader of the Orthanc project, created the VolView plug-in. When enabled, the plug-in adds a “View in VolView” button on the Orthanc web pages, e.g., next to each patient’s image series. Clicking that button opens a new webpage that presents the image series in VolView, for interactive 3D visualization and review. No additional server setup or server resources are needed, and users do not need to install an application.

In addition to a VolView plugin (left), the Orthanc Explorer 2 plugin (above) also provides a button to open VolView.

Simplified Rendering Quality Control

We have also simplified the 3D rendering controls of VolView and significantly improved the quality of the renderings it provides. We added a single slider that allows users to select the balance between interactivity and quality that they desire as they view data in VolView. Adjusting quality results in changes to multiple advanced rendering parameters that have been carefully tuned for each quality level. In combination with the dynamic level-of-detail system already implemented in VolView, users can adjust VolView to support a variety of tasks, from quickly reviewing multiple scans for quality assurance to carefully interpreting a particular case to generating high-quality visualizations for publications.

Rendering options are “Good” (providing real-time rendering on most platforms), “Better”, “Ultra”, and “Beta” (experimental yet highly realistic renderings that require a few seconds to generate). Above provides an interactive comparison of “Good” and “Beta” results.

Layer Images

To overlay PET and CT images, users can load the base CT image, then click the “Add Layer” button to overlay the PET image. The layered image is resampled to match the base image. A slider on the Rendering tab adjusts the transparency of the image layers.  

Support for Amazon S3 and Google Cloud Data

VolView 4.1 now supports directly loading data from Amazon S3 buckets and Google Cloud folders. No matter which cloud service you choose for your data hosting needs, VolView can readily access and visualize it. This feature has enabled the NIH’s Imaging Data Commons, which hosts its data on Google Cloud folders, to adopt VolView as a visualization tool.

Start Using VolView Today

VolView provides high-quality cinematic renderings and an intuitive user experience. Integrate VolView into your research and commercial systems to strengthen your clinical collaborations and help your users gain new insights into their data. Since VolView was designed for versatility, it can be easily adapted to custom workflows and applications, without committing large amounts of time and money. If you find you would like help customizing VolView, Kitware offers commercial support services that can accelerate that process and incorporate many other medical image computing libraries such as MONAI for medical imaging AI. For more information, please contact our team.

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