Rady Children’s Launches No-Cost 3D Model Viewing Technology

Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego announced the availability of Arc Viewer, a new no-cost 3D model viewing software. Built in-house at the hospital’s Helen and Will Webster Foundation 3D Innovations (3DI) Lab, Arc Viewer allows clinicians at any hospital to easily interact with virtual 3D reconstructions of patient anatomy. Arc Viewer is built with Unity, a platform of tools for creators to build and grow real-time games, apps, and experiences across multiple platforms.

“The current state of health care calls for complex technology to become a part of a physician’s everyday life. Having access to an intuitive platform to view the patient-specific anatomy of a tiny, intricate cardiac chamber before going into surgery is game-changing,” remarked Dr John Nigro, Division Chief of Cardiac Surgery & Cardiac Transplant Services at Rady Children’s Hospital, Helen and Will Webster Foundation Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Co-Director, Rady Children’s Heart Institute, and clinical professor of surgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “Coupled with the fact that I can operate the software on my computer to view an accurate 3D image of the heart — all within minutes — this technology greatly helps with surgery planning and increases confidence in the operating room.”

Prior to the development of Arc Viewer, surgeons were required to receive assistance from radiology technologists or engineers to view 3D models. Now, three-dimensional renderings of computerized tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans are delivered directly to the surgeon as 3D data (e.g., X3D, OBJ, or STL files) and can be viewed through a user-friendly computer program. The surgeon can interact with the model at their convenience, which saves time and allows for a closer look at complicated structures.

“It is uncommon to leverage a video game engine or apply video game design principles in healthcare software, but this strategy has enhanced the approachability of the software and resulted in a better user experience,” said Parham Gholami, Research Engineer at Rady Children’s Hospital. The team used Unity, which was involved in the development of popular video games such as Pokémon Go, Marvel Snap, and Dave the Diver.

“Arc Viewer paves the way for the creation of more technologies that enable physicians to work at the speed of thought and continue to improve patient health outcomes. As part of a children’s hospital, our team feels inspired by the stories we hear and what we see around us. We look forward to continuing the development of technologies that will help our physicians deliver the best patient care.”

Arc Viewer, which has already been in-use at Rady Children’s for a year, is available to the public at no cost and accessible through www.rchsd.org/3dviewer.

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