Physicalizing cardiac blood flow data via 3D printing

Kathleen D. Ang*, Faramarz F. Samavati, Samin Sabokrohiyeh, Julio Garcia, Mohammed S. Elbaz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Blood flow data from cardiac 4D Flow MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) holds much potential for research and diagnosis of flow-related diseases. However, understanding this data is quite challenging – after all, it is a volumetric vector field that changes over time. One helpful way to explore the data is by flow visualization, but most traditional flow visualizations are designed for 2D screens and thus suffer from limited depth perception and restricted screen space. We propose a novel slice-based physical model as a complementary method for visualizing the flow data. The design of this model respects the conventional method of viewing medical imagery (i.e., in cross sections) but has the added advantages of engaging one's sense of touch, not suffering from screen space restrictions, and being easily fabricated by affordable fused deposition modelling (FDM) printers. We apply the slice-based technique to different representations of blood flow data and demonstrate that the technique is capable of transforming volumetric flow data into a tangible, easily fabricable model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-54
Number of pages13
JournalComputers and Graphics (Pergamon)
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • 3D printing
  • 4D Flow MRI
  • Biomedical applications
  • Physical visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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