PROCOPE 2020 "Brain Roads. Interactive Visualization of the Brain, involving Neurosurgery"


Neurosurgical practices are progressively guided by tomographic scanning technologies with increasing
anatomical details, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These tomographic image technologies
enable presurgical analysis and planning, as well as surgical navigation. However, a growing number
of parameters and data are available to the surgeon in order to plan his surgery, broadening the process
and demanding complex perception. The surgeon’s perception relies largely on imaging processes,
which need to be supported by developing new designed interfaces to aid navigating through data and
consolidating numerous inputs, e.g. to a range from patients’ medical histories to structural brain
architectures. To advance such digital representations, we develop functional models and prototypes
that introduce new paradigms both in image viewing and analysis in an interdisciplinary setting,
consisting of graphic design, software design, cognitive anthropology, software engineering and
neurosurgery. These interdisciplinary explorations lead to new perspectives on the neurosurgical task,
and to new types of knowledge that are transferred through those tools.
The context of this project, and especially the necessities and restrictions of neurosurgical clinical
environments, have been analyzed in a preceding interdisciplinary Cluster of Excellence project at
Humboldt University Berlin.
The research project Adaptive Digital Twin concatenates interdisciplinary concepts and aims to develop
new approaches on design, humanities, material science and medicine. As a research group, it is
building on fruitful encounters between sciences, humanities, art and design around a new approach of
matter and materials, objects and techniques, based on the notion of materiality and activity of the digital
and the brain. To provide conceivable visualizations of anatomical features, thus helping users to better
interpret relevant diagnostic details within the neuroanatomical context, novel approaches for
reformatting the manifold surfaces of image data are to be explored.
To enable the analysis and implementation of large datasets in real time, it is necessary to develop
innovative data filtering. The Data Visualization Program, developed by the department of Graphic and
Digital Design at ESAD de Reims with computer engineers of JIN (video games and digital interactions)
department at TSP, addresses a series of graphic and digital design challenges in relation to
contemporary digital transformation. Indeed, the underlying reality of digital technologies is decreasingly
perceived and understood by its users, due to the increasing complexity of technology. This research
program makes visible and sensitive BigData and background computational algorithms that process
and act on our socio-technical environments. The joint team of designers and engineers proposes
effective, open visual concepts and interface prototypes based on state-of-the-art interfaces, such as
Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality or Multimodal interfaces to allow new interactions to
be experienced.
Together, the newly constituted international research team will develop and compare several
alternative image analysis software and design new software interfaces for advanced neurosurgical
image analysis and manipulation, in the form of experimental prototypes produced by the students.
Furthermore, display and visualization technologies will be investigated with the aim of spatially merging
virtual and physical forms of human action and anatomy in neurosurgical planning. Thus, these models
will incorporate advanced fiber tracking data (probabilistic delineation of the human white matter, based
on diffusion MRI) as well as connectome data (structural-functional brain network). New modes of
interaction based on an interdisciplinary analysis of historical and contemporary concepts of imaging
data visualizations and various technical gestures will lead to a paradigm shift in presurgical image
analysis and therefore refine presurgical planning. Furthermore, the exploration of neurosurgeons’
individual mapping techniques of, their use of mental models and visual landmarks, will add to our
understanding of image viewing and how complex knowledge is being transferred.

Principal Investigators
Schäffner, Wolfgang Prof. Dr. (Details) (Cluster of Excellence 'Matters of Activity')

participating organizational facilities of the HU

Participating external organizations

Duration of Project
Start date: 01/2020
End date: 12/2021

Research Areas
Anatomy, Life Sciences, Medicine, Neurosciences

Last updated on 2021-04-01 at 17:52