In a few years when you go to the doctor and get a CT scan, or MRI, or even a 4D ultrasound, you’ll be able to peer into your own body via holographic display.
This idea of displaying medical scans holographically has been a dream we’ve pursued in the Looking Glass Factory team from Day 1. Years before we figured out how to create a lightfield display capable of outputting dynamic holograms, we converted CT scans into static volumetric prints — kind of like a static version of the Looking Glass display, but made of ink instead of light. Here’s an example we created in 2014 with data that a friend provided after he got a basketball injury and had to get his foot scanned.
Fast forward 5 years and the Looking Glass has replaced those volumetric prints with something far more advanced. Now researchers and doctors are starting to experiment with displaying fully-updatable, living 3D medical scans. Like in this recent post from Takashi Ijiri in which he integrated his Looking Glass with his CT-scan viewing software:
Or as shown in this incredible example from our friends at Orthoscience* with dental CT-scans being imaged in the new Looking Glass Pro:
This has massive implications for the field of medical education and training (more on that in a follow-up post) while also vastly improving patient understanding of upcoming procedures and ultimately leading to saved lives. On this last point, displaying 3D scans holographically to groups of people does something simple but profound — what is on top of what is no longer ambiguous. Viewing complex three-dimensional scans in a 2D display can lead to critical mistakes — how intricate vasculature is wrapped around an organ or the depth of an intervention in an interventional radiology procedure are notoriously difficult to understand on 2D displays, but in a Looking Glass these three-dimensional scans are immediately clear — as clear as if the doctor could peer directly into the patient’s body. And of course with a holographic display like the Looking Glass, as opposed to a VR or AR headset, groups of doctors and patients can view the scans in full superstereoscopic glory immediately without the need to put a pair of goggles on all of their faces.
This is one of the application areas I’m personally most excited about and I can’t wait to see more practitioners using the Looking Glass in their medical imaging work over the coming months. If you’re in the medical field and interested in this application, I’d love to hear from you — write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Holograms in the dental industry are significant in their own right, even beyond the general advances in medical imaging I described here. In the next post, Missy will go into more detail on orthodontic and general dental scans in the Looking Glass.
Next up, #23: Holographic Orthodontic and Dental Scans
*this is part of our “100 Days of Holograms” series, where Missy Senteio and Shawn Frayne of Looking Glass Factory post one new wonderful or weird (or both!) use for the Looking Glass holographic display each day.