WebGL is better than most existing solutions as it requires no third party plugins, Java or Flash support to function only requires WebGL support to function.
Google has set the ground work for an interesting possible addition to their Google Health platform with their new Google Body Browser. It is interesting as it solves the problem that users have with existing solutions as it requires no third party plugins, Java or Flash support to function only requires WebGL support to function. While the downside is that it’s only supported by beta versions of FireFox and Chrome it’s likely it will be quickly adopted by Safari and IE during 2011 as developers rush to develop for a platform that requires no-plugins to function.
PeriVision did a nice technical review of the web3D platform running on a older PC and also highlighted that you cannot test this is you are using their new Google CR-48 Chrome OS laptop because you cannot upgrade to the latest Chrome 9 Beta. IT seems the web3D platform is using upwards of 400 MB of ram to render the images inside your Chrome browser window which is a struggle for older PCs but most come standard these days with a few gig so most modern PCs should be fine.
Real-time medical visualisations
It seems that a Medical Working Group has been established to ensure an open interoperable standard is developed that can be based on input from a wide variety of imaging sources so a single interoperable file format can be used. It is also beneficial to platforms like the Google Body Browser as researchers can take exported data produced by different medical equipment (CAT,MRI,PET) and fuse them into a single and coherent 3D data set. The benefits are that this real-time medical visualisations can be used for surgical training, patient diagnostics and even patient education on how it occurred, what is the impact and how the treatment will work.
Google Body Browser Tour
Below are some quick videos I captured showing you a quick tour of the platform without having to install Mozilla Firefox 4 Beta or Google Chrome Beta, there is no audio/voice track.
Google Body Browser – Label Feature
Google Body Browser – Layer Sliders
Google Body Browser – Search Function
Google Body Browser – Layers Feature
Limitations of WebGL
Even with the latest version of Chrome Beta running that is no longer enough as WebGL is disabled by default, you also need to get the Chromium continuous build update. To run Chrome with WebGL enabled from the command line enter “chrome.exe –enable-webgl” and if you do experience any performance issues run the following from the command line “chrome.exe –enable-webgl –enable-accelerated-compositing”. It is interesting that Google has now disabled the WebGL feature even in Chrome Beta but that might point to larger issues with the technology or it’s impact on performance as a native platform.