Radiologists are viewing and manipulating MRI, CT, PET and other digital medical images on the latest generation Apple Macintosh computers, and they're storing files and even viewing some images on the pocket-sized iPod Photo multimedia player, displacing expensive workstations, complicated file servers and proprietary software with store-bought consumer electronics gear.
Dr. Osman Ratib and colleagues at UCLA have re-written their previous generation Mac- and Unix-based Osiris system to take advantage of the Open Source graphics environment of the Mac's System X operating system. The new product -- OsiriX -- displays medical-standard DICOM (.dcm) files and can be downloaded free-of-charge from the web.
As the web site describes it:
OsiriX has been specifically designed for navigation and visualization of multimodality and multidimensional images: 2D Viewer, 3D Viewer, 4D Viewer (3D series with temporal dimension, for example: Cardiac-CT) and 5D Viewer (3D series with temporal and functional dimensions, for example: Cardiac-PET-CT). The 3D Viewer offers all modern rendering modes: Multiplanar reconstruction (MPR), Surface Rendering, Volume Rendering and Maximum Intensity Projection (MIP). All these modes support 4D data and are able to produce image fusion between two different series (for example: PET-CT).
OsiriX demonstrates the convergence of some important information technology and healthcare developments:
- Open consumer electronics architectures
- Open Source software and utilities
- Streamlined development environments
- Internet filesharing
- Medical digital imaging standards
- On-line medical consultation and collaboration
An article on the Apple Developer Connection tells the full story, and the Osiris web site offers some stunning screen shots of DICOM images on the Mac. One of the coolest shows a kid displaying a PET CT reconstruction through the iPod's video interface onto a Sony Trinitron TV (above, right).