The Oculus Rift virtual colonoscopy: introducing a new technology and initial impressions

David Randall, Peter Metherall, Karna Dev Bardhan, Paul Spencer, Richard Gillott, Rebecca de Noronha, John W Fenner


Introduction: Virtual colonoscopy has proven to be a reliable, sensitive technique and is now widely adopted in routine clinical practice. We present a novel extension to virtual colonoscopy by incorporating the immersive Oculus Rift virtual reality technology. We describe our initial experience to explore its potential diagnostic benefit. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first Oculus Rift related publication in the radiology field.

Method: A procedure for generating an Oculus Rift virtual colonoscopy (ORVC) has been created. It is derived from a CT image of an air/CO2 inflated colon with contrast labelled faecal matter. The mucosal surface is segmented from its surroundings and subsequently meshed and rendered to produce a 3D surface. The mucosal surface is then imported into the Unity game engine along with the calculated coordinates of its centreline. Within Unity, a virtual reality camera is assigned to travel both outside and inside the colon, aided by controls allocated to an Xbox controller. Two ORVCs were created from differing quality CT data and trialled by two experienced radiologists and a gastroenterologist.

Results: The ORVCs prompted an enthusiastic response from the clinicians. It was considered to offer potential for improved diagnostic power but further development is required if its full capability is to be realised.

Conclusions: A mechanism for examining virtual colonoscopies within the immersive environment of the Oculus Rift has been developed. The resulting ORVCs were trialled by three clinicians with largely positive feedback providing encouragement for pursuing this work further.


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Journal of Biomedical Graphics and Computing    ISSN 1925-4008 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4016 (Online)

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