Recent advances in computing have only recently made 3D MRI’s a reality. The three dimensional image is not just a surface recording, it has depth. One can view various systems (Nervous, Circulatory, lymphatic) all at once. The First, Third, and Fourth principles of Tufte’s visualization analysis are easily achievable given the nature of the data capture.
- First Principle: Show comparisons. contrasts. differences
By having all of the systems recorded, comparing contrast (between systems) is easier. Having all the related systems available for analysis should make it easier to divine whatever information is desired.
- Third Principle: Multivariate Analysis
- Fourth Principle: Integration of Evidence
The 3-D recording that the MRI is capable of allows the data to be both multi-variant and such variants are integrated into the image by nature of the devices capture methods. Not knowing the purpose of the observation however, I cannot know what evidence should be apparent.
The Second Principle: Causality, Mechanism, Structure, Explanation is difficult to assess. I am assuming that the MRI is used to detect physical ailments. Blood clots, tumors, breakages, etc. A Doctor would not order an MRI to diagnose a blood disorder for example, they would order a blood test. So I can only assume that if an MRI is used, then it is for something physically detectable. Since the image occurs in the fourth dimension, time. Causality, mechanism, and systematic structure, can all play into explanation. You can watch the events unfold before you, in theory.
Principles Five and Sixth, Documentation and Content Quality are the two of the main goals of Medical Imaging. As the technology moves forward, the user is able to capture more data (more time at smaller intervals of time) and at higher resolution. This is a constant dialogue engineers are having with medical professionals. It is not a static quality.
Aesthetically the image is drab. While I am curious what function color could serve in such a visualization, it is becoming apparent that the MRI is plotting density data at a vector, no more. This allows the viewer to “dive” through the image and see the different values that make up the systems. What I can divine as the viewer and what the computer can “see” is very different. I can see that cluster of tangent densities as an organ or a blood vessel. The application does not see the relationship those values have to each other. So the idea of each overlapping system being separated on it’s own layer would require some sort of density pattern recognition on the part of the MRI application. I have seen this sort of layering only on models the have been created to demonstrate the and illuminate the overapping systems of the human body. I have not seen a medical image treated in this way.