Monday, October 3, 2011

Reaction: Marching Cubes: A High Resolution 3D Surface Construction Algorithm

Marching Cubes is an algorithm designed in and before 1987 which produces a surface from a three-dimensional set of data (in this case medical scanning data) by running through a 7 step process. The resulting image can be used by medical practitioners to better understand the data generated by these various scanning techniques. By triangulating surface angles by defining a cube with edges and vertices which can be subdivided by planes is an interesting approach to this pattern. It is especially interesting that 14 specific patterns can be used to specify the full 256 permutations resulting from rotational and transpositional symmetries. 

The algorithm itself is not very complicated and is easily implementable into existing (in 1987 and later) software and hardware visualization tools. I would be interested to know if this technique is still used today, or if we have developed more efficient and universally accepted techniques. Additionally, these techniques for displaying data seem like direct analogies to the real world counterpart. As useful as these algorithms are, they do not provide information on how effective these forms of communication are, though for the medical community, it could be seen as pretty obvious how great an impact this could have.