Plymouth Township’s Materialise Enhances Virtual Reality for Medical Industry

Materialise, a 3-D printing software and services company in Belgium with locations in Plymouth Township and Ann Arbor, introduced its Mimics VR Viewer, which brings virtual reality to its 3-D modeling platform.
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Mimics VR Viewer environment
The Mimics VR Viewer allows users to view and interact with virtual anatomical models. // Image courtesy of Materialise

Materialise, a 3-D printing software and services company in Belgium with locations in Plymouth Township and Ann Arbor, introduced its Mimics VR Viewer, which brings virtual reality to its 3-D modeling platform.

The virtual reality environment in the Mimics Viewer provides clinicians with a complement to 3-D printed anatomical models, allowing for faster and lower-cost visualization through interactive models for planning, education, and communication.

Medical research in virtual reality technologies has expanded in recent years, especially for education and training, patient engagement, physician communication, and anatomy visualization. The research, hardware improvements, and cost reductions have led to an expanded medical market for virtual reality applications.

“3-D printed anatomical models continue to provide irreplaceable value for doctors in the planning and communication of complex cases,” says Bryan Crutchfield, vice president and general manager of Materialise North America.

“As VR technologies become more seamless, the technology will have an important complementary role as a faster, low-cost option for interactive models. The interactive nature of a VR environment opens new doors for planning, education, and communication and allow physicians to easily address more complex cases through personalized planning.”

Existing virtual reality applications are often limited by factors such as the technical training needed to work the technology and requirements to tether headsets to a dedicated computer and physical space. The Mimics Viewer removes tethering restrictions to ensure compatibility across multiple virtual reality devices. This feature enables multiple views to access the experience remotely while eliminating the physical lab space dedicated to virtual reality technology.

The new virtual reality environment also allows clinicians the ability to create models with improved depth and proportion perception for personalized treatments.

Medical organizations that have already invested in the digital workflows for segmenting medical images for 3-D printing can use the technology to extend their digital models to VR headsets. The viewer will require no extra software installation, and the user will be able to access cases directly in a secure browser environment.

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