Glassworks were asked to create a virtual heart simulator that allows the user to interact with an animated and anatomically accurate virtual 3D model of the heart, in real time.
The brief required the operator to be able to control the orientation of the heart and make planar slices at any angle through the organ, on the computer screen. From these slices the operator would be able to show the anatomical relationships between the various internal and external structures of the heart.
During development it became clear that the accuracy of the 3D model and the quality of the real time render engine combined, would have far wider benefits than originally envisaged. It could be used for transoesophagoal, as well as conventional transthoracic, echocardiography teaching purposes, for angiography, cardiac surgery and a great variety of other applications in anatomy and education.
Asylum’s part in the project was to build a full size head, torso and a replica probe that could be inserted into the mouth. The controls on the probe would feed back to Glassworks software so when the operator adjusts the position of the tip by turning the knobs on the probe handle, the on screen display of the ultrasound image would change in real time too. The software would also show the full colour, hi-def image of the beating heart, cut away to match the slice the operator was looking at.
The torso had sensors built in to the body that would signal the probes position back to the software. An electronic interface was designed by Asylum that would take the information from the sensors and send them via USB to the computer, running Glassworks program. All the power for the torso and probe is from the computers USB socket, making other power supplies unnecessary. Asylum are proud to be part of the Heartworks project, helping in the education of future generations of medical staff. To find out more about the project visit Glassworks.