[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper describes the adaptation and evaluation of existing nested-surface visualization techniques for the problem of displaying intersecting surfaces. For this work, we collaborated with a neurosurgeon who is comparing multiple tumor segmentations with the goal of increasing the segmentation accuracy and reliability. A second collaborator, a physicist, aims to validate geometric models of specimens against atomic-force microscope images of actual specimens. These collaborators are interested in comparing both surface shape and inter-surface distances. Many commonly employed techniques for visually comparing multiple surfaces (side-by-side, wireframe, colormaps, uniform translucence) do not simultaneously convey inter-surface distance and the shapes of two or more surfaces. This paper describes a simple geometric partitioning of intersecting surfaces that enables the application of existing nested-surface techniques, such as texture-modulated translucent rendering of exteriors, to a broader range of visualization problems. Three user studies investigate the performance of existing techniques and a new shadow-casting glyph technique. The results of the first user study show that texture glyphs on partitioned, intersecting surfaces can convey inter-surface distance better than directly mapping distance to a red-gray-blue color scale on a single surface. The results of the second study show similar results for conveying local surface orientation. The results of the third user study show that adding cast shadows to texture glyphs can increase the understanding of inter-surface distance in static images, but can be overpowered by the shape cues from a simple rocking motion.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: ImageSurfer is a tool designed to explore correlations between two 3D scalar fields. Our scientific goal was to determine where a protein is located, and how much its concentration varies along the membrane of a neuronal dendrite. The 3D scalar field data sets fall into two categories: dendritic plasma membranes (defining the structure) and immunofluorescent staining (defining protein concentration along the structure). ImageSurfer enables scientists to analyze relationships between multiple data sets obtained with confocal microscopy by providing 3D surface view, height field, and graphing tools. Each tool reduces the complexity of the problem by extracting a restricted subset of data: finding a region of interest in 3D; getting a sense of relative concentrations in 2D, and getting exact concentration values in 1D. The current design is presented, along with the rationale for each design decision. The tool is already proving useful for data exploration, analysis, and presentation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The nanoManipulator system adds a virtual-reality interface to an atomic-force microscope (AFM), thus providing a tool that can be used not only to image but also to manipulate nanometer-sized molecular structures. As the AFM tip scans the surface of these structures, the tip-sample interaction forces are monitored which in turn can yield information about the frictional, mechanical and topological properties of the sample. Computer graphics are used to reconstruct the surface for the user, with color or contours overlaid to indicate additional data sets. Moreover, by means of a force-feedback pen, which is connected to the scanning tip via software, the user can touch the surface under investigation to feel it and to manipulate objects on it. This system has been used to investigate carbon nanotubes, DNA, adeno- and tobacco-mosaic virus. Nanotubes have been bent, translated and rotated to understand their mechanical properties and to investigate friction on the molecular level. Using AFM lithography in combination with the nanoManipulator, the electro-mechanical properties of carbon nanotubes are being investigated. The rupture force of DNA has been measured and the elastic moduli of viruses are being studied. We discuss how some of the graphics and interface features of the nanoManipulator made these novel investigations possible
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Since 1991, our team of computer scientists, chemists and physicists have worked together to develop an advanced, virtual-environment interface to scanned-probe microscopes. The interface has provided insights and useful capabilities well beyond those of the traditional interface. This paper lists the particular visualization and control techniques that have enabled actual scientific discovery, including specific examples of insight gained using each technique. This information can help scientists determine which features are likely to be useful in their particular application, and which would be just sugar coating. It can also guide computer scientists to suggest the appropriate type of interface to help solve a particular problem. We have found benefit in advanced rendering with natural viewpoint control (but not always), from semi-automatic control techniques, from force feedback during manipulation, and from storing/replaying data for an entire experiment. These benefits come when the system is well-integrated into the existing tool and allows export of the data to standard visualization packages.