Video-game makers and clinicians push motion-capture tech

The techniques of video-game makers and cartoon creators are helping clinicians capitalize on the data explosion from imaging technology. Developments in translating scanned images into digital models to make 3-D renderings--underpinnings of the movies Avatar and Terminator 2--are yielding motion-capture techniques that turn data into virtual patients.

Such leading-edge work is being done at a few dedicated 3-D imaging labs around the world, such as the Hadassah Medical Center at Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem. The lab provides researchers a level of focus not possible for the busy CAT technicians and radiologists at most hospitals, says Jacob Sosna, head of the computerized axial tomography unit in the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center's radiology department and director of its research and imaging laboratories. In-depth image post-processing can yield new applications and techniques for use on patient scans, he adds.

The lab comprises a medium-sized room with four workstations. Sosna says one of the lab's strengths is its close ties with academia and industry, in addition to the medical center. He says also that like motion capture, CAT scanning is the product of a medical/entertainment industry collaboration. "The Beatles recorded with EMI, E-lectrical & Musical Industries, which was an industrial research company as well as a record label," says Sosna, in Hadassah magazine. "The Beatles' massive success paid for EMI research that produced the CAT scanner."

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