Mass General and Martinos Center Acquire WorldViz VR Solutions for Medical Research at New CTRU Facility

Client: Massachusetts General Hospital and the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging

Use Case: Medical Diagnostics and Therapies for Brain Disorders

WorldViz is pleased to announce its partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital and the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging for cutting edge research applications in the new Clinical and Translational Research Unit (CTRU). The Center will use multiple WorldViz VizMove Projection VR and multi-user VR headset systems with eye tracking for developing innovative techniques in biomedical imaging and research targeting the discovery of emerging medical diagnostics and therapies for preventing, managing and curing complex brain disorders.

Exploring a VR model of an MRI brain scan in the Data Visualization Room

Mass General is already one of the most renowned research and teaching hospitals in the world associated with Harvard Medical School and MIT, and the Martinos Center is one of the world’s premier institutions devoted to the development and application of advanced biomedical imaging technologies. The new CTRU will accelerate their work tackling mood and psychotic disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injury.

The WorldViz installation is two-part with both a data visualization room and a clinical research facility on two separate floors. The installation will serve as a resource for all members of the Martinos Center for applications ranging from day-to-day presentations and collaboration to longitudinal research projects over the coming years.

The data visualization room is primarily dedicated to 3D visualizations of medical imaging data and consists of a WorldViz VizMove Projection VR system and three user HTC Vive Pro Eye multi-participant VR headset systems. It also includes a large visualization “hyperwall” that allows anyone to instantly share data sets from their laptop and explore them collaboratively in various modes of group immersion. One primary goal of the center will be to bring traditional 2D datasets of fMRI and histology imaging into fully explorable 3D virtual reality accessible via headsets and Projection VR for innovations in analysis and surgical planning.

Two Users in VR Shake Hands Virtually in the Data Visualization Room

"We have a hyperwall, holography and VR projection and headsets so teams can better visualize their data. For example, they can look at a brain's functional connectivity and walk through the brain in 3D, rotating it for different views, or reconstruct microscopic histological and subcellular data in four dimensions," explains Dr. Steven Arnold, MD and director of the CTRU.

The clinical research facility virtual reality installation includes another two-projector VizMove Projection VR system that will allow for immersive stimulus presentation while giving researchers unimpeded access to subjects for brain activity measurement and stimulation through techniques such as EEG and TMS. Research participants can interact with simulated social tasks in a fully controlled environment allowing researchers to conduct complex behavioral assessments. "At the same time, study participants may be hooked up to an EEG or ECG. It gives investigators a comprehensive profile of the nervous system function in an individual” explains Dr. Arnold.

The Clinical Research Facility Enables Advanced VR Stimulus Presentation in Combination with Brain Scanning & Stimulation. This user wears an EEG cap while inside a Projection VR Environment.

The research facility also includes multiple ultra-portable WorldViz VizBox systems with eye tracking equipped VR headsets which researchers can utilize to bring their research into patients homes and the community. The installation is also equipped with BIOPAC data acquisition tools which natively communicate with WorldViz’s Vizard VR development platform allowing for both precise measurement of subjects physiology during VR based experiments and for innovative real time biofeedback-based control of virtual environments. 

The systems in both installations are driven by the WorldViz Vizard VR software development platform, excelling in this context both as a 3D visualization and experiment design tool. Also, both spaces are motion tracked with the WorldViz PPT real-time motion tracking solution for dynamic interaction across all devices.

We would like to thank the Martinos Center of Medical Imaging and their granting organization. We look forward to supporting the exciting research work to come from Martinos in future years, including research on Alzheimer’s disease and stroke rehabilitation.

For more information on the systems and software used at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, please reach out to contact@worldviz.com.

Read more about how WorldViz VR solutions help Mass General and Martinos Center reveal the inner workings of our brains in this article “Future in Sight” by Terry Byrne and Kate Flock.

*All photos by Kate Flock, MGH Photo.

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