Research Spotlight

Augmented Reality for External Ventricular Drainage

External ventricular drainage (EVD) is a high-risk procedure that involves inserting a catheter inside a patient’s skull to drain cerebrospinal fluid and relieve intracranial pressure. To assist with this procedure, we have developed the Augmented Reality Catheter Tracking and Visualization Methods and System, which accurately projects both a catheter placed into the human brain through the skull, and a brain CT scan overlaid on the skull, onto AR glasses. Our technique uses a new linear marker detection method that requires minimal changes to the catheter and is well-suited for tracking other thin medical devices that require high-precision tracking.

COVID-19 Patient Data Visualization Tools

Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is ideal for lung and cardiac imaging in patients with COVID-19, as it is a rapid and lower-risk imaging option providing important anatomic and functional information in real time. We are developing new computational tools that will store, analyze and display POCUS images quickly, accurately, and in a way designed to facilitate clinical decision-making. The technology will allow quantification and standardization of lung and cardiac ultrasound findings in COVID-19, which is not currently possible. While this effort is COVID-19- specific, the technology will impact and improve the care of all acutely ill patients, fundamentally changing how patients are managed both in and out of the hospital setting.

Four Strings Around the Virtual World

We’ve spearheaded a unique collaboration between the University of Maryland’s School of Music and College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, combining classical music with modern technology to transform the way people experience a concert performance. The Maryland Blended Reality Center built a prototype VR system to capture pieces from world-renowned concert violinist Irina Muresanu’s “Four Strings Around the World” project, a series of solo violin pieces representing traditional music from the Middle East, South America, Europe, China and the United States. The resulting experience transports viewers to scenic locations around the world, which represent these culturally-diverse pieces as Muresanu performs them.

Weather Forecasting in Virtual Reality

Immersive visualization technology is rapidly changing the way three-dimensional data is displayed and interpreted. Rendering meteorological data in four dimensions (space and time) exploits the full data volume and provides weather forecasters with a complete representation of the time-evolving atmosphere. With the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, we created an interactive immersive “fly-through” of real weather data. Users are visually guided through satellite observations of an event that caused heavy precipitation, flooding, and landslides in the western United States. This narrative and display highlights how VR tools can supplement traditional forecasting and enhance meteorologists’ ability to predict weather events.