Alvare and Gordon Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling (2015) 12:7
As parents, we frequently despaired of ever getting our children, especially our boys, off video games and onto things we considered more important, like homework and eating. It was a constant war, one we have happily turned over to our daughters-in-law and we have smirked more than once when the obsessions of our grandson have our sons complaining.
Dick has been interested in improving imaging since early in his career. His most cited paper is
Gordon, R., R. Bender & G.T. Herman (1970). Algebraic Reconstruction Techniques (ART) for three-dimensional electron microscopy and x-ray photography. Journal of Theoretical Biology 29(3), 471-481.
It was an intersection of these two aspects of our life, video games and ART that inspired Dick to begin working with the very talented programmer Graham Alvare starting when he worked in the laboratory of Brian Fristensky and continuing after Graham was accepted into medical school at University of Manitoba. The concept is simple. X rays provide wonderful images doctors need. But our current 3D methods result in undesirable doses of X-rays. Imagine if we could get better images with less x rays? The human eye and brain is far better at spotting pattern and revealing it than any program. Efforts to replace radiologists with computers images simply don’t work. The best a computer can do is aid the radiologist to see better. So why not have the computer learn from the human? Combine the love of video games with finding images pertinent to physicians and humans will turn their brain to the problem of dose reduction. Data from the game is then used to find patterns that can be programmed into a computer. The resulting concept is CT Brush and CancerZap!
The concept is a combination of video gaming, crowd sourcing and fun to improve imaging. The present game was not a “wow!” as far as our nine year old Alexander was concerned. What would be really great is if some professional gamer types took the project on and ran with it. CT Brush is available online, with open code, permitting its further development and we hope to get feedback from readers and players.
Try it for yourself Here Cancer Zap!