As we create VR experiences such as My Data Body and Your Data Body with personal data, we are refining workflows for preparing data and generating Unity scripts for importing and aesthetically controlling DICOM (and other data) in VR. We are capturing our research in a collection technical resources that includes demonstration videos, step by step PDFs and Github repository with Unity projects and Python codes. We hope that they will prove useful to other artists and creative researchers!
Our technical resources are divided into 3 main sections;
- Introduction to 3D Slicer and Exporting an MHD and RAW file
- Resizing an MHD and RAW file with MHD Resizer
- Cleaning 3D scan dataset in 3D Slicer
- Exporting an MHD and Raw file from 3D Slicer and creating a color transform xml with MHD Colour Transform
- Importing DICOM into Unity
- Selecting and Manipulating Datasets in VR
- Clipping data in VR
- Converting scan data to sound and adding audio effects
- Working with a high resolution layered camera to capture rendered data in VR
- Scaling the user in VR
- Duplicating data in VR
- Bringing Tilt Brush tools and DICOM together in Unity to create Tilt Brush assets
- Working dynamically with PNG files in Unity
- Creating a Moving Text path in VR
- Creating a Word Cloud in VR
- Working with text particles in VR
We work primarily with free software, in particular 3D Slicer and Unity.
3D Slicer is a fabulous open source platform for working with DICOM data and has an excellent VR plugin that allows you to very easily experience DICOM data in virtual reality. Team member Dr Gabor Fictinger is one of the founding members and primary developers of 3D Slicer. We work with 3D Slicer to inspect, clean and reformat data. We also use 3D Slicer to sketch projects.
Unity is a powerful game development platform which allows you to create powerful VR and AR experiences. Team member Professor Kumar Punithakumar has written a number of scripts to work with DICOM in Unity which are the foundation of Deep Connection, Tete a Tete, My Data Body and Your Data Body. All demonstrations and scripts have been created for Unity 2019.3.4f1.
Team member Professor Geoffrey Rockwell created an online text Voyant Tools with his collaborator Stefan Sinclair. Voyant Tools are a web-based text reading and analysis environment. It is a scholarly project that is designed to facilitate reading and interpretive practices for digital humanities students and scholars as well as for the general public.
Best Practice Guidelines for Working with Personal Data
DICOM data is sensitive personal data and must be treated thoughtfully and respectfully. To help other artists and researchers reflect upon the ethical challenges of working with sensitive personal data, we have written Best Practice Guidelines for Working with Personal Data. We use many examples of artworks to discuss issues such as anonymization and consent. We also provide an overview of current data regulations and visual research ethics recommendations.
KTVR software development is thanks to Kumar Punithakumar and the many research students who have worked on the KTVR project; Dhara Pancholi, Kirtan Shah, Preet Giri, Jiayi Ye and Walter Ostrander.