Interactive slice WIM: Navigating and interrogating volume data sets using a multisurface, multitouch VR interface

Dane Coffey, Nicholas Malbraaten, Trung B Le, Iman Borazjani, Fotis Sotiropoulos, Arthur G Erdman, Daniel F Keefe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


We present Interactive Slice World-in-Miniature (WIM), a framework for navigating and interrogating volumetric data sets using an interface enabled by a virtual reality environment made of two display surfaces: an interactive multitouch table, and a stereoscopic display wall. The framework addresses two current challenges in immersive visualization: 1) providing an appropriate overview+detail style of visualization while navigating through volume data, and 2) supporting interactive querying and data exploration, i.e., interrogating volume data. The approach extends the WIM metaphor, simultaneously displaying a large-scale detailed data visualization and an interactive miniature. Leveraging the table+wall hardware, horizontal slices are projected (like a shadow) down onto the table surface, providing a useful 2D data overview to complement the 3D views as well as a data context for interpreting 2D multitouch gestures made on the table. In addition to enabling effective navigation through complex geometries, extensions to the core Slice WIM technique support interacting with a set of multiple slices that persist on the table even as the user navigates around a scene and annotating and measuring data via points, paths, and volumes specified using interactive slices. Applications of the interface to two volume data sets are presented, and design decisions, limitations, and user feedback are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6095547
Pages (from-to)1614-1626
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Birali Runesha, Victoria Interrante, and partners in the medical devices industry for helpful discussions. This work was supported in part by the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute for Advanced Computational Research; the University of Minnesota Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry and Scholarship program, and the National Institutes of Health (RO1-HL-07262). Thanks to the makers of the Osirix imaging software for providing the public data set used in the design study. This work utilizes the VRPN library maintained by UNC-Chapel Hill’s CISMM project with support from NIH/NCRR and NIH/NIBIB award 2P41EB002025.

Funding Information:
Fotis Sotiropoulos received the diploma in mechanical engineering from the National Tech-nical University of Athens in 1986, the MS degree in aerospace engineering from The Penn State University in 1989, and the PhD degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 1991. He is the James L. Record professor of civil engineering and the director of the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory at the Uni-versity of Minnesota. His research develops computational techniques for studying problems at the intersections of fluid mechanics with engineering, bioengineering, and biology, including novel, high-resolution, fluid-structure interaction algorithms for simulating a wide range of biological and cardiovascular flows. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and recipient of a US National Science Foundation (NSF) Career award.


  • 3D user interface
  • World in miniature
  • multitouch
  • overview+detail
  • virtual reality
  • volume visualization


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