Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

LaDisa, John F.

Second Advisor

Woods, Ronald K.

Third Advisor

Ellwein, Laura M.


Modern scientific research produces data at rates that far outpace our ability to comprehend and analyze it. Such sources include medical imaging data and computer simulations, where technological advancements and spatiotemporal resolution generate increasing amounts of data from each scan or simulation. A bottleneck has developed whereby medical professionals and researchers are unable to fully use the advanced information available to them. By integrating computer science, computer graphics, artistic ability and medical expertise, scientific visualization of medical data has become a new field of study. The objective of this thesis is to develop two visualization systems that use advanced visualization, natural user interface technologies and the large amount of biomedical data available to produce results that are of clinical utility and overcome the data bottleneck that has developed.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is a tool used to study the quantities associated with the movement of blood by computer simulation. We developed methods of processing spatiotemporal CFD data and displaying it in stereoscopic 3D with the ability to spatially navigate through the data. We used this method with two sets of display hardware: a full-scale visualization environment and a small-scale desktop system. The advanced display and data navigation abilities provide the user with the means to better understand the relationship between the vessel's form and function.

Low-cost 3D, depth-sensing cameras capture and process user body motion to recognize motions and gestures. Such devices allow users to use hand motions as an intuitive interface to computer applications. We developed algorithms to process and prepare the biomedical and scientific data for use with a custom control application. The application interprets user gestures as commands to a visualization tool and allows the user to control the visualization of multi-dimensional data. The intuitive interface allows the user to control the visualization of data without manual contact with an interaction device. In developing these methods and software tools we have leveraged recent trends in advanced visualization and intuitive interfaces in order to efficiently visualize biomedical data in such a way that provides meaningful information that can be used to further appreciate it.