| Verity Lab - 3D Visualization |
We are exploring the use of 3D visualization as an investigative tool. You have heard of it in the medical field as cat-scans and tomography. With plankton, we have a different problem. Unlike medicine, we don't have an object the size of the human body to work with; in fact, the cells we want to render are the size of a red blood cell. Imagine a plankton cell, with the microscope and camera looking down on it, so that there is a top and a bottom to the cell. The computer drives the microscope so that it automatically focuses on the top of the cell, electronically opens a shutter, the camera grabs an image (= an "optical slice") in 1/30 sec, the shutter closes, the motorized microscope stage moves down an exact prescribed amount so that a new "slice" is in focus, and the procedure is repeated until the bottom of the cell is reached.
All of this is done automatically and controlled by the computer. Then we apply an algorithm which compares the distribution of light in each plane of focus with that from each plane above and below, to remove the blur cause by the out-of-focus planes. Thus you end up with a stack of optical image planes, each perfectly in focus and separated by exact known amounts. Then you feed these image planes into a sophisticated graphics computer, which interpolates between the image planes and renders the plankton cell in 3D.