Lung Dynamics, Physically-based deformation, Augmented Reality, GPU


Medical simulation has facilitated the understanding of complex biological phenomenon through its inherent explanatory power. It is a critical component for planning clinical interventions and analyzing its effect on a human subject. The success of medical simulation is evidenced by the fact that over one third of all medical schools in the United States augment their teaching curricula using patient simulators. Medical simulators present combat medics and emergency providers with video-based descriptions of patient symptoms along with step-by-step instructions on clinical procedures that alleviate the patient's condition. Recent advances in clinical imaging technology have led to an effective medical visualization by coupling medical simulations with patient-specific anatomical models and their physically and physiologically realistic organ deformation. 3D physically-based deformable lung models obtained from a human subject are tools for representing regional lung structure and function analysis. Static imaging techniques such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Chest x-rays, and Computed Tomography (CT) are conventionally used to estimate the extent of pulmonary disease and to establish available courses for clinical intervention. The predictive accuracy and evaluative strength of the static imaging techniques may be augmented by improved computer technologies and graphical rendering techniques that can transform these static images into dynamic representations of subject specific organ deformations. By creating physically based 3D simulation and visualization, 3D deformable models obtained from subject-specific lung images will better represent lung structure and function. Variations in overall lung deformations may indicate tissue pathologies, thus 3D visualization of functioning lungs may also provide a visual tool to current diagnostic methods. The feasibility of medical visualization using static 3D lungs as an effective tool for endotracheal intubation was previously shown using Augmented Reality (AR) based techniques in one of the several research efforts at the Optical Diagnostics and Applications Laboratory (ODALAB). This research effort also shed light on the potential usage of coupling such medical visualization with dynamic 3D lungs. The purpose of this dissertation is to develop 3D deformable lung models, which are developed from subject-specific high resolution CT data and can be visualized using the AR based environment. A review of the literature illustrates that the techniques for modeling real-time 3D lung dynamics can be roughly grouped into two categories: Geometrically-based and Physically-based. Additional classifications would include considering a 3D lung model as either a volumetric or surface model, modeling the lungs as either a single-compartment or a multi-compartment, modeling either the air-blood interaction or the air-blood-tissue interaction, and considering either a normal or pathophysical behavior of lungs. Validating the simulated lung dynamics is a complex problem and has been previously approached by tracking a set of landmarks on the CT images. An area that needs to be explored is the relationship between the choice of the deformation method for the 3D lung dynamics and its visualization framework. Constraints on the choice of the deformation method and the 3D model resolution arise from the visualization framework. Such constraints of our interest are the real-time requirement and the level of interaction required with the 3D lung models. The work presented here discusses a framework that facilitates a physics-based and physiology-based deformation of a single-compartment surface lung model that maintains the frame-rate requirements of the visualization system. The framework presented here is part of several research efforts at ODALab for developing an AR based medical visualization framework. The framework consists of 3 components, (i) modeling the Pressure-Volume (PV) relation, (ii) modeling the lung deformation using a Green's function based deformation operator, and (iii) optimizing the deformation using state-of-art Graphics Processing Units (GPU). The validation of the results obtained in the first two modeling steps is also discussed for normal human subjects. Disease states such as Pneumothorax and lung tumors are modeled using the proposed deformation method. Additionally, a method to synchronize the instantiations of the deformation across a network is also discussed.


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Graduation Date





Rolland, Jannick


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Degree Program

Computer Science








Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)