Published On: Wed, Jul 30th, 2014

Virtual Finger Allows Scientist to Analyze and Navigate Complex Three Dimensional Images

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Researchers have found a revolutionary way to navigate three-dimensional images digitally. This new technology is referred to as virtual finger that enables scientist to navigate by means of digital images of small structures such as synapses and neurons by utilizing their computer screens flat surface. The unique technology virtual finger makes three dimensional imaging studies more efficient and in turn save enough money, resources and time at an unparalleled level across several areas of experimental biology. More information regarding the virtual finger software and its applications are outlined in the week issue of the journal “Nature Communications” Most of the image analysis software generally works by separating a 3D image into an array of thin slices and each slice can be observed like a flat image on the computer screen.

In order to learn three dimensional structures, researchers and scientists move through the slices and a technique which is challengingly increasing with the arrival of big data. Hanchuan Peng, an Associate investigator for brain science at the Allen Institute says that “Viewing through the three-dimensional image data at a time is merely not efficient particularly when you are dealing with the terabytes of data”. This is similar to observing through the glass window and seeing the objects available outside, but not able to manipulate them due to the presence of physical barrier.

In quick contrast, virtual finger permits the scientist to reach the three dimensional images of smaller objects such as single cells with the intention to access the information that they require much more intuitively and quickly. If you navigate your cursor over the flat surface of your computer screen, then this virtual finger software will recognize whether you are pointing towards an object which is far, near or somewhere in between, and enables you to analyze deeply with devoid of sifting through various two dimensional images. Researchers at the Allen Institute have been using the virtual finger technology to enhance their discovery of spikes from the individual cells and also to frame the morphological structures of neurons in a well manner. In fact, virtual finger assures to be a game charger for various biological methods and experiments of data analysis, even ahead of neuroscience.

In the article Nature Communication, the collaborative group of researchers explains how this technology has already been functioned to do the three dimensional microsurgery so as to knock out the single cells, study of developing lungs and also to design a map of almost every neuron connection in the fly brain. Hanchuan Peng describes that using the unique technology of virtual finger will make data analysis as well as data collection ten to hundred times faster depending upon the biological experiment. This software permits us to move larger quantities of biological data in the similar way that the Google earth enables you to navigate the whole world. It is truly a revolutionary technology for several different applications within the biological science.

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