Interactive visualization of volumetric data with WebGL in real-time



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This article presents and discusses the implementation of a direct volume rendering system for the Web, which articulates a large portion of the rendering task in the client machine. By placing the rendering emphasis in the local client, our system takes advantage of its power, while at the same time eliminates processing from unreliable bottlenecks (e.g. network). The system developed articulates in efficient manner the capabilities of the recently released WebGL standard, which makes available the accelerated graphic pipeline (formerly unusable). The dependency on specially customized hardware is eliminated, and yet efficient rendering rates are achieved. The Web increasingly competes against desktop applications in many scenarios, but the graphical demands of some of the applications (e.g. interactive scientific visualization by volume rendering), have impeded their successful settlement in Web scenarios. Performance, scalability, accuracy, security are some of the many challenges that must be solved before visual Web applications popularize. In this publication we discuss both performance and scalability of the volume rendering by WebGL ray-casting in two different but challenging application domains: medical imaging and radar meteorology. © 2011 ACM.


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