W Feng Y F Zhang Y F Wu and Y S Wong

This chapter covers different data capture techniques appropriate to medical applications, from the introduction of the data capture techniques to their applications. It will then go on to discuss the software implications. This is therefore considered to be an introductory chapter for a few of the later chapters.

Many three-dimensional (3D) medical scan technologies can help to collect or capture the initial geometry data. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) scan technology is very popular in medical application and the scanned data presentation (layer by layer) strongly resembles the slice data format used to drive the new manufacturing paradigm of rapid prototyping (RP). Encouraged by the similarity, computer translators have been developed to convert the CT/MR data from their virtual reality into a format whereby RP could be used to produce anatomically accurate physical models ('real virtuality'). The precision of RP technology is driving the refinement of the algorithms for identifying surfaces and features from the CT/MR data. The RP models have been found to have particular usefulness in many applications, such as diagnostics, treatment planning, procedure practice/simulation and consultation. Inaccuracies in the RP models result from the limited resolution of the CT/MR data and limitations with current data interpretation algorithms. 3D laser scan technology can give quick results with high resolution, and, based on this advantage, RE and RP can be integrated for medical applications. This chapter describes two methods for reconstructing 3D RP models from the laser-scanned data. Current applications will be illustrated for these physical medical images along with research efforts into generating more accurate surface data.

Advanced Manufacturing Technology for Medical Applications Edited by I. Gibson © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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