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UNF undergrad develops virtual reality tool to see tumors in 3-D

by: Jenna Bourne, Action News Jax Updated:

A new tool developed at the University of North Florida allows doctors to use virtual reality goggles to examine images of tumors in 3-D.

The UNF undergraduate student who developed it hopes the technology will help save lives.

Computing and information sciences major Jason Smith put on his set of virtual reality goggles and checked out the data from a brain cancer research study.

It’s a 3-D scatter plot. The data points are images of tumors, which Smith can manipulate by moving his hands.

The tool he developed, VRvisu, allows doctors and researchers to explore 3-D representations of complex medical datasets, including each individual tumor.

“You’re actually able to analyze the tumor more closely and see exactly how it is shaped -- all the cavities, the size, everything,” said Smith.

Put yourself in the situation of a cancer patient. Your doctor could use this technology to research the most effective treatments for a tumor shaped like yours.

“I think this is a big deal because virtual reality is still emerging and nobody has done such kind of application,” said UNF School of Computing assistant professor Dr. Sandeep Reddivari.

Smith made this tool open source, so people will be able to download it and contribute their ideas.

“Your imagination is really your limit when it comes to virtual reality, so I’m really interested in seeing what other people come up with,” said Smith.

Smith graduates in the fall.