Researchers at the Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering and the University of Geneva have developed a virtual reality system for navigating through and manipulating huge volumes of brain-related data. Information obtained from brain studies can balloon into gigantic quantities that is difficult to visualize and analyze. The person piloting the system wears a now fairly common virtual reality headset and a handheld joystick is used to move through the anatomy, make virtual slices, and zoom in on points of interest.
The 3D visualization system processes data from high resolution microscopes that image samples at the cellular level. The researchers are studying mouse brains, which might seem small. Though it is anatomical data, it might as well be astronomical in its quantity and visual resemblance to the cosmos, as can be seen in the video below.
“The immense data volumes produced by today’s high-performance microscopes are driving the development of new methods to visualize the brain,” said Dr Stéphane Pages, lead author of the paper just presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience 2017, in Washington, DC. “We have developed this virtual reality system to reconstruct cellular level neuroanatomical data in 3D space. The system provides a practical solution to experience, analyze and quickly understand these exquisite, high-resolution images.”