Revolutionizing 3D Rotational Angiograms with Microsoft Hololens

Revolutionizing 3D Rotational Angiograms with Microsoft Hololens

Just prior to release of the Microsoft Hololens 2, the Emerging Technologies Group (ETG) was approached by Dr. Arash Salavitabar in the U-M CS Mott Children’s Hospital with an innovative idea: to use XR to improve evaluation of patient scans stemming from 3d rotational angiography. 

Rotational angiography is a medical imaging technique based on x-ray, that allows clinicians to acquire CT-like 3D volumes during hybrid surgery or during a catheter intervention. This technique is performed by injecting contrast into the pulmonary artery followed by rapidly rotating a cardiac C-arm. Clinicians are then able to view the resulting data on a computer monitor, manipulating images of the patient’s vasculature. This is used to evaluate how a procedure should move forward and to aid in communicating that with the patient’s family.

With augmented reality devices like the Hololens 2, new possibilities for displaying and manipulating patient data have emerged, along with the potential for collaborative interactions with patient data among clinicians.

What if, instead of viewing a patient’s vasculature as a series of 2D images displayed on a computer monitor, you and your fellow doctors could view it more like a tangible 3D object placed on the table in front of you? What if you could share in the interaction with this 3D model — rotating and scaling the model, viewing cross sections, or taking measurements, to plan a procedure and explain it to the patient’s family?

This has now been made possible with a Faith’s Angels grant awarded to Dr. Salavitabar, intended to explore innovative ways of addressing congenital heart disease. The funding for this grant was generously provided by a family impacted by congenital heart disease, who unfortunately had lost a child to the disease at a very young age.

The Emerging Technologies Group consulted with Dr. Salavitabar on essential features and priorities to realize his vision, using the latest version of ETG’s Jugular software.  

This video was spliced from two separate streams recorded concurrently from two collaborating HoloLens users. Each user has a view of the other, as well as their own individual perspectives of the shared holographic model.

The angiography system in the Mott clinic produces digital surface models of the vasculature in STL format.

That format is typically used for 3D printing, but the process of queuing and printing a physical 3D model often takes at least several hours or even days, and the model is ultimately physical waste that must be properly disposed of after its brief use.

Jugular offers the alternative of viewing a virtual 3D model in devices such as the Microsoft HoloLens, loaded from the same STL format, with a lead time under an hour.  The time is determined mostly by the angiography software to produce the STL file.  Once the file is ready, it takes only minutes to upload and view on a HoloLens.  Jugular’s network module allows several HoloLens users to share a virtual scene over Wi-Fi.  The HoloLens provides a “spatial anchor” capability that ties hologram locations to a physical space.  Users can collaboratively view, walk around, and manipulate shared holograms relative to their shared physical space.  The holograms can be moved, scaled, sliced, and marked using hand gestures and voice commands.

This innovation is not confined to medical purposes.  Jugular is a general-purpose extended-reality program with applications in a broad range of fields.  The developers analyze specific project requirements in terms of general XR capabilities.  Project-specific requirements are usually met through easily-editable configuration files rather than “hard coding.”

Robots Who Goof: Can We Trust Them?

Robots Who Goof: Can We Trust Them?

Article by: Laurel Thomas, ltgnagey@umich.edu

The human-like, android robot used in the virtual experimental task of handling boxes.

When robots make mistakes—and they do from time to time—reestablishing trust with human co-workers depends on how the machines own up to the errors and how human-like they appear, according to University of Michigan research.

In a study that examined multiple trust repair strategies—apologies, denials, explanations or promises—the researchers found that certain approaches directed at human co-workers are better than others and often are impacted by how the robots look.

“Robots are definitely a technology but their interactions with humans are social and we must account for these social interactions if we hope to have humans comfortably trust and rely on their robot co-workers,” said Lionel Robert, associate professor at the U-M School of Information and core faculty of the Robotics Institute.

“Robots will make mistakes when working with humans, decreasing humans’ trust in them. Therefore, we must develop ways to repair trust between humans and robots. Specific trust repair strategies are more effective than others and their effectiveness can depend on how human the robot appears.”

For their study published in the Proceedings of 30th IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication, Robert and doctoral student Connor Esterwood examined how the repair strategies—including a new strategy of explanations—impact the elements that drive trust: ability (competency), integrity (honesty) and benevolence (concern for the trustor).

The mechanical arm robot used in the virtual experiment.

The researchers recruited 164 participants to work with a robot in a virtual environment, loading boxes onto a conveyor belt. The human was the quality assurance person, working alongside a robot tasked with reading serial numbers and loading 10 specific boxes. One robot was anthropomorphic or more humanlike, the other more mechanical in appearance.

Sara Eskandari and Stephanie O’Malley of the Emerging Technology Group at U-M’s James and Anne Duderstadt Center helped develop the experimental virtual platform.

The robots were programed to intentionally pick up a few wrong boxes and to make one of the following trust repair statements: “I’m sorry I got the wrong box” (apology), “I picked the correct box so something else must have gone wrong” (denial), “I see that was the wrong serial number” (explanation), or “I’ll do better next time and get the right box” (promise).

Previous studies have examined apologies, denials and promises as factors in trust or trustworthiness but this is the first to look at explanations as a repair strategy, and it had the highest impact on integrity, regardless of the robot’s appearance.

When the robot was more humanlike, trust was even easier to restore for integrity when explanations were given and for benevolence when apologies, denials and explanations were offered.

As in the previous research, apologies from robots produced higher integrity and benevolence than denials. Promises outpaced apologies and denials when it came to measures of benevolence and integrity.

Esterwood said this study is ongoing with more research ahead involving other combinations of trust repairs in different contexts, with other violations.

“In doing this we can further extend this research and examine more realistic scenarios like one might see in everyday life,” Esterwood said. “For example, does a barista robot’s explanation of what went wrong and a promise to do better in the future repair trust more or less than a construction robot?”

This originally appeared on Michigan News.

More information:

Extended Reality: changing the face of learning, teaching, and research

Extended Reality: changing the face of learning, teaching, and research

Written by Laurel Thomas, Michigan News

Students in a film course can evoke new emotions in an Orson Welles classic by virtually changing the camera angles in a dramatic scene.

Any one of us could take a smartphone, laptop, paper, Play-doh and an app developed at U-M, and with a little direction become a mixed reality designer. 

A patient worried about an upcoming MRI may be able put fears aside after virtually experiencing the procedure in advance. 

Dr. Jadranka Stojanovska, one of the collaborators on the virtual MRI, tries on the device

This is XR—Extended Reality—and the University of Michigan is making a major investment in how to utilize the technology to shape the future of learning. 

Recently, Provost Martin Philbert announced a three-year funded initiative led by the Center for Academic Innovation to fund XR, a term used to encompass augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality and other variations of computer-generated real and virtual environments and human-machine interactions. 

The Initiative will explore how XR technologies can strengthen the quality of a Michigan education, cultivate interdisciplinary practice, and enhance a national network of academic innovation. 

Throughout the next three years, the campus community will explore new ways to integrate XR technologies in support of residential and online learning and will seek to develop innovative partnerships with external organizations around XR in education.

“Michigan combines its public mission with a commitment to research excellence and innovation in education to explore how XR will change the way we teach and learn from the university of the future,” said Jeremy Nelson, new director of the XR Initiative in the Center for Academic Innovation.

Current Use of XR

 
Applications of the technology are already changing the learning experience across the university in classrooms and research labs with practical application for patients in health care settings. 

In January 2018, a group of students created the Alternative Reality Initiative to provide a community for hosting development workshops, discussing industry news, and connecting students in the greater XR ecosystem.

In Matthew Solomon‘s film course, students can alter a scene in Orson Welles’ classic “Citizen Kane.” U-M is home to one of the largest Orson Welles collections in the world.

Solomon’s concept for developers was to take a clip from the movie and model a scene to look like a virtual reality setting—almost like a video game. The goal was to bring a virtual camera in the space so students could choose shot angles to change the look and feel of the scene. 

This VR tool will be used fully next semester to help students talk about filmmaker style, meaning and choice.

“We can look at clips in class and be analytical but a tool like this can bring these lessons home a little more vividly,” said Solomon, associate professor in the Department of Film, Television and Media.

A scene from Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane” from the point of view of a virtual camera that allows students to alter the action.

Sara Eskandari, who just graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the Penny Stamps School of Art and a minor in Computer Science, helped develop the tool for Solomon’s class as a member of the Emerging Technologies Group team.

“I hope students can enter an application like ‘Citizen Kane’ and feel comfortable experimenting, iterating, practicing, and learning in a low-stress environment,” Eskandari said. “Not only does this give students the feeling of being behind an old-school camera, and supplies them with practice footage to edit, but the recording experience itself removes any boundaries of reality. 

“Students can float to the ceiling to take a dramatic overhead shot with the press of a few buttons, and a moment later record an extreme close up with entirely different lighting.”

Sara Blair, vice provost for academic and faculty affairs, and the Patricia S. Yaeger Collegiate Professor of English Language and Literature, hopes to see more projects like “Citizen Kane.”

“An important part of this project, which will set it apart from experiments with XR on many other campuses, is our interest in humanities-centered perspectives to shape innovations in teaching and learning at a great liberal arts institution,” Blair said. “How can we use XR tools and platforms to help our students develop historical imagination or to help students consider the value and limits of empathy, and the way we produce knowledge of other lives than our own? 

“We hope that arts and humanities colleagues won’t just participate in this [initiative] but lead in developing deeper understandings of what we can do with XR technologies, as we think critically about our engagements with them.”

UM Faculty Embracing XR

 

Mark W. Newman, professor of information and of electrical engineering, and chair of the Augmented and Virtual Reality Steering Committee, said indications are that many faculty are thinking about ways to use the technology in teaching and research, as evidenced by progress on an Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program in Augmented and Virtual Reality.

Newman chaired the group that pulled together a number of faculty working in XR to identify the scope of the work under way on campus, and to recommend ways to encourage more interdisciplinary collaboration. He’s now working with deans and others to move forward with the certificate program that would allow experiential learning and research collaborations on XR projects.

“Based on this, I can say that there is great enthusiasm across campus for increased engagement in XR and particularly in providing opportunities for students to gain experience employing these technologies in their own academic work,” Newman said, addressing the impact the technology can have on education and research.

“With a well-designed XR experience, users feel fully present in the virtual environment, and this allows them to engage their senses and bodies in ways that are difficult if not impossible to achieve with conventional screen-based interactive experiences. We’ve seen examples of how this kind of immersion can dramatically aid the communication and comprehension of otherwise challenging concepts, but so far we’re only scratching the surface in terms of understanding exactly how XR impacts users and how best to design experiences that deliver the effects intended by experience creators.

Experimentation for All

 

Encouraging everyone to explore the possibilities of mixed reality (MR) is a goal of Michael Nebeling, assistant professor in the School of Information, who has developed unique tools that can turn just about anyone into an augmented reality designer using his ProtoAR or 360proto software.

Most AR projects begin with a two-dimensional design on paper that are then made into a 3D model, typically by a team of experienced 3D artists and programmers. 

Michael Nebeling’s mixed reality app for everyone.

With Nebeling’s ProtoAR app content can be sketched on paper, or molded with Play-doh, then the designer either moves the camera around the object or spins the piece in front of the lens to create motion. ProtoAR then blends the physical and digital content to come up with various AR applications.

Using his latest tool, 360proto, they can even make the paper sketches interactive so that users can experience the AR app live on smartphones and headsets, without

Michael Nebeling’s mixed reality app for everyone.

spending hours and hours on refining and implementing the design in code.

These are the kind of technologies that not only allow his students to learn about AR/VR in his courses, but also have practical applications. For example, people can

experience their dream kitchen at  home, rather than having to use their imaginations when clicking things together on home improvement sites. He also is working on getting many solutions directly into future web browsers so that people can access AR/VR modes when visiting home improvement sites, cooking a recipe in the kitchen, planning a weekend trip with museum or gallery visits, or when reading articles on wikipedia or the news.

Nebeling is committed to “making mixed reality a thing that designers do and users want.”

“As a researcher, I can see that mixed reality has the potential to fundamentally change the way designers create interfaces and users interact with information,” he said. “As a user of current AR/VR applications, however, it’s difficult to see that potential even for me.”

He wants to enable a future in which “mixed reality will be mainstream, available and accessible to anyone, at the snap of a finger. Where everybody will be able to ‘play,’ be it as consumer or producer.”

 

XR and the Patient Experience

A team in the Department of Radiology, in collaboration with the Duderstadt Center Emerging Technologies Group, has developed a Virtual Reality tool to simulate an MRI, with the goal of reducing last minute cancellations due to claustrophobia that occur in an estimated 4-14% of patients. The clinical trial is currently enrolling patients. 
VR MRI Machine

“The collaboration with the Duderstadt team has enabled us to develop a cutting-edge tool that allows patients to truly experience an MRI before having a scan,” said Dr. Richard K.J. Brown, professor of radiology. The patient puts on a headset and is ‘virtually transported’ into an MRI tube. A calming voice explains the MRI exam, as the patient hears the realistic sounds of the magnet in motion, simulating an exam experience. 

The team also is developing an Augmented Reality tool to improve the safety of CT-guided biopsies.

Team members include doctors Brown, Jadranka Stojanovska, Matt Davenport, Ella Kazerooni, Elaine Caoili from Radiology, and Dan Fessahazion, Sean Petty, Stephanie O’Malley,Theodore Hall and several students from the Emerging Technologies Group. 

“The Duderstadt Center and the Emerging Technologies Group exists to foster exactly these kinds of collaborations,” said Daniel Fessahazion, center’s associate director for emerging technologies. “We have a deep understanding of the technology and collaborate with faculty to explore its applicability to create unique solutions.” 

Dr. Elaine Caoili, Saroja Adusumilli Collegiate Professor of Radiology, demonstrates and Augmented Reality tool under development that will improve the safety of CT-guided biopsies.

AI’s Nelson said the first step of this new initiative is to assess and convene early innovators in XR from across the university to shape how this technology may best support serve residential and online learning. 

“We have a unique opportunity with this campus-wide initiative to build upon the efforts of engaged students, world-class faculty, and our diverse alumni network to impact the future of learning,” he said.