Physicalizing Cardiac Blood Flow Data via 3D Printing

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Blood flow data from cardiac 4D Flow MRI holds much potential for research and diagnosis of flow-related diseases. However, understanding this data is quite challenging -- after all, it is a volumetric vector field that changes over time. One helpful way to explore the data is by flow visualization, but most traditional flow visualizations are designed for 2D screens and thus suffer from limited depth perception and restricted screen space. We present a framework for creating physical flow models as a complementary means of visualizing the flow data. The model design respects the conventional method of viewing medical imagery (i.e. in cross sections) but has the advantages of engaging one's sense of touch, and being fabricable by affordable 3D printers. We apply our technique to different representations of blood flow data and demonstrate that the framework is capable of transforming volumetric flow data into tangible, fabricable models.
Ang. K. D. (2019). Physicalizing Cardiac Blood Flow Data via 3D Printing (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from