New members in the VIS group

We are happy to announce that Janine Zöllner and Jorik Jakober have joined the VIS group to pursue their PHD’s in the area of application-based Virtual Reality research. Janine will be working on radiochemistry applications and Jorik in the medical domain.


We say goodbye to our colleagues Sylvia Saalfeld and Sebastian Wagner. Sylvia went to the Technical University of Ilmenau to lead the group for Computational Medicine. Sebastian went to work in the industry. We thank Sylvia and Sebastian for the scientific work they contributed to our group and for the great time we had together with them as our colleagues. We wish them all the best for their future!

Scenarios for Narrative Visualization of Medical 3D Datasets

Topic: Raw medical image data is hard to interpret for non-experts. However, to communicate medical topics visualization can help a lot. Therefore, this project strives to find appropriate visualization techniques to make medical image data accessible to the broad public.​ Different visualization techniques should be investigated regarding degrees of interactivity, animation, annotations, etc.

Project Type: There are different possible scenarios, each scenario can be a separate student project. A project can be a Bachelor/Master Thesis, Team project, or Individual project.

Requirements: The project will be done with the Unity Engine (using C# Scripts). Experience with Unity is beneficial but not obligatory. Programming skills in C# or a similar language as well as knowledge of basic computer graphics or visualization are required. Prior knowledge in medical visualization is beneficial but not obligatory.

Scenario 1: Nested Structures

In many cases, the infected tissue lies within healthy tissue. We have to visualize these nested surfaces to not just show the infected tissue but to also provide anatomical context

  • Medical Examples:​
    • Liver Tumor​
    • Brain Lesions​
  • Main Tasks: Implement and Compare Visualization Techniques, e.g.​
    • Transparent Surfaces​
    • Clipping Plane​
    • Cut-a-way-views​
    • Illustrative Techniques​

Scenario 2: Compare Data Sets

Some diseases might not be obvious to non-experts because they don’t know how the healthy anatomical structures look like. Therefore, a comparative visualization of multiple data sets can support their understanding.​

  • Medical Examples:​
    • Aneurysm before and after stent​
  • Main Tasks: Investigate Techniques to Compare Multiple Data Sets
    • Visualization techniques (see Scenario 1) that are suited for comparisons​
    • Techniques to link multiple visualizations together​

Scenario 4: Blood Flow

Visualizing blood flow is important for the explanation of many vascular diseases. However, blood flow can be very complex and it can be tricky to depict different streams inside a vessel without confusing non-experts.

  • Medical Examples:​
    • Flow inside an aneurysm​
    • Flow inside the aorta​
  • Main Task: Implement and Compare Flow Visualization Techniques​
    • Vessel Wall Depictions​
    • Depict Flow as Particles, Lines, …​
    • (Color Choices)​

Scenario 5: Functional Data

Medical visualization includes not only the representation of anatomical structures, but also functional data that is mapped to the anatomical surfaces.​

  • Medical Examples:​
    • Wall shear stress caused by blood flow​
    • (Blood flow velocity)​
  • Main Tasks: Implement and Compare Visualization Techniques for Functional Data​
    • Different Methods for Color-coding​
    • Legends​
    • Glyphs (e.g. like in a weather map)

Narrative Visualizations to Communicate Medical Data

The Covid 19 pandemic has once again shown how important it is to communicate medical knowledge and research insights to a broad audience without medical expertise in an understandable way. Recently, narrative visualization, i.e. the combination of storytelling techniques with interactive graphics is used to communicate scientific findings to a broad audience. Many tools have been developed to generate narrative visualizations based on tabular data. However, it is unclear to what extent these tools are also suitable for medical data, which also include 3D surface and volume data, as well as 2D slice images.

Figure 1: Authoring tool Ellipsis to generate stories based on tabular data [1].

Goal: The goal should be to do an extensive literature review. It shall be analyzed which software solutions are available for the creation of data-driven narrative visualizations and on which input data they are based. In addition, it will be analyzed to what extent existing tools are suitable for dealing with medical data and which requirements a medical-oriented tool for the creation of narrative visualizations should fulfill. Optionally, user interfaces can be prototyped and evaluated for such a medical authoring tool.

Type: Bachelor/Master Thesis (Team project (2 FIN students) would also be possible)

Requirements: Good skills in scientific reading and summarizing scientific papers; critical thinking; good transfer skills regarding the derivation of requirements for a medical narrative tool as well as analysis skills whether this is possible with existing tools.

[1] Satyanarayan, A., and Heer, J. “Authoring narrative visualizations with ellipsis.” Computer Graphics Forum. Vol. 33. No. 3. 2014.: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cgf.12392
[2] Conlen, M., and Heer, J. “Idyll: A markup language for authoring and publishing interactive articles on the web.” Proceedings of the 31st Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology. 2018.: https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/3242587.3242600
[3] Meuschke, M., et al. “Towards Narrative Medical Visualization.” arXiv preprint arXiv:2108.05462 (2021).: https://arxiv.org/abs/2108.05462

Science communication on a flexible touch display setup


The project’s goal is to create a software/hardware solution that allows the university to present different projects to a broader audience. Examples for projects are:

  • results of a digital restoration of a monument of Magdeburg’s cathedral
  • overview of courses of study that the university offers


To achieve this, the student has to:

  • research existing software tools to create interactive presentations for multi-touch displays
  • research hardware solutions for modular, flexible multi-touch displays

Based on the results of this research, the student should realize an example presentation with the software tools and the hardware.

This project can be realized as a research assistant (HiWi), bachelor thesis/master thesis or student project.