The same Duke University Pratt School of Engineering research team that first developed real-time, 3D ultrasound imaging has modified the commercial version of the scanner to produce an even more realistic perception of depth. The researchers created an updated version of the image-viewing software, making it possible to achieve a stereo display with no additional hardware. Paired images now seem to pop out of the screen when viewed with special glasses.

"To our knowledge, this is the first time it's been made possible to display real-time stereo image pairs on a clinical scanner," said Stephen Smith, a professor of biomedical engineering at Duke. "We believe all 3D scanners could be modified in this way with only minor software changes."

The new imaging capability can improve the early diagnosis of certain kinds of birth defects of the face and skull and improve surgeons' depth perception during ultrasound-guided medical procedures.

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