Bangor PhD Student 'Rob Wanat' receives the Terry Hewitt Prize at TPCG 2012
Rob receiving his prize
We are pleased to announce that Bangor PhD student 'Robert Wanat' received the 'Terry Hewitt Prize' for his paper submitted to the Theory and Practice of Computer Graphics (TPCG) conference in 2012.

The Terry Hewitt Prize is awarded to the best technical research student paper on the basis of both the written paper and its presentation.

The 2012 Terry Hewitt Prize is awarded to: Robert Wanat, Josselin Petit, "Physical and perceptual limitations of a projector-based high dynamic range display"

Conference web site:

Photo: Robert Wanat receiving the prize of the NVIDIA Tesla card
IEEE VAST Challenge Hat Trick! 
The VMG group gain success at the annual IEEE VAST Challenge for the third year running, which is indicative of our strength at international level in the field of visual analytics. The VAST Challenge provides synthetic data sets with an embedded ground truth surrounded by obfuscating data, and challenges teams to correctly answer a series of questions on the scenario.

The VAST 2012 challenge was to investigate the cyber situational awareness of a fictitious international bank called the `Bank of Money'. Two datasets were provided for the first challenge, the first contained meta-data that describes the computer network of the bank. This consisted of nearly 1 million individual machines divided over 4,056 geographically dispersed facilities which included datacenters, regional offices and branches. The second dataset contained the output of status updates for all computers on the banks network for two days. The status of each machine is stored every 15 minutes and provides details about deviations from corporate policies and the current activity for each individual machine. When stored as comma-separated-values the main dataset is approximately 8GB. 

SitaVis in Action

The Bangor team of Francis Williams, William Faithfull and Jonathan Roberts developed a tool named SitaVis (click on the image above to download a movie of SitaVis in action), that was used to discover the situation of the network of the Bank of Money. The team says "SitaVis offers a visual overview (an overview of the situation) of the network with the ability to drill down into the data using direct interaction techniques". "Network datasets are large and therefore we have developed an interactive framework that enables the dynamic exploration and interactive analysis of the data using aggregation techniques and Microsoft's XNA framework.". The entry was awarded an "Honorable Mention for Good Situational Awareness Snapshot".

For VAST 2011Bangor's team consisted of Llyr ap Cenydd, Rick Walker, Serban Pop, Helen Miles, Chris Hughes, William Teahan and Jonathan C. Roberts. There were a number of mini-challenges, and the one we tackled was concerned with tracking the spread of an epidemic within a city using Twitter messages. We built a tool to help us understand the underlying narrative of the scenario, and to analyse the data and discovered not just the spread, but also the transmission method and cause of the epidemic. 

Our submission was selected for an award - "Outstanding Analysis Using Custom Tools" - and was subsequently presented at a workshop as part of Visweek 2011 in Providence, RI in October.  There were 30 entries from around the world with solutions to this mini challenge. Four other entries received awards (from Purdue University, VIS Stuttgart, VSTI/SAS, and MTA-SZTAKI). More details about the 2011 Bangor implementation can be found here:

For VAST 2010, the team of senior lecturer Jonathan C Roberts and post-docs Serban Pop, Rick Walker and Llyr ap Cenydd tackled a mini-challenge concerned with the spread of a pandemic across several countries. We built a tool to analyse the data provided, using a combination of multiple views and statistics, and were able to use it successfully answer all the mini-challenge questions. The picture below is a snapshot of our analysis - click on the image to download a short movie (divx format) showing our tool in action.

Snapshot of the VASTvis tool in action

This entry received an award for "Good analytic process and explanation", and was presented at the VAST Challenge 2010 Participant Workshop in Utah in October.  The other award winners for this mini challenge were a joint team from Purdue University and University of Houston, a team from University of Konstanz, and a team from commercial company Periscope.
Congratulations to Professor Tim Porter, Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales
In April, Professor Tim Porter was elected to be a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.  This new learned society was founded in May 2010 to be an an organisation that was able:
  •     to demonstrate, celebrate and disseminate the excellence of Welsh research and scholarship;
  •     to reflect and enhance Wales’s maturity as a nation and help raise the country’s profile across the United Kingdom, and internationally;
  •     to serve and provide advice to the nation; and
  •     to provide a link between academia, industry and commerce, and policy-makers.
Tim was also invited to visit the University of Granada, Spain for a month in Spring 2012 and in addition visited the Universities of Madrid (Complutense) and La Rioja, for research discussions. In June, he was invited to give a series of talks for the Ecole Thématique CNRS : Mathématiques et Philosophie Contemporaines. 
Biomedical Research Unit - Advanced Medical Imaging and Visualisation
In March 2011, WAG NISCHR announced funding for a biomedical research centre and three smaller biomedical research units in Wales. One of the successful bids was for the Advanced Medical Image Analysis and Visualisation unit led by Professor Nigel W John from Bangor University and the Research Institute of Visual Computing (RIVIC), in partnership with the NHS in Wales and Aberystwyth, Cardiff and Swansea Universities. The unit will focus on:
  •     medical image analysis and visualization in heart disease
  •     prostate cancer and the brain to transform diagnosis treatment
  •     rehearsal, education, and training applications.
A total grant of £1.2 million was awarded over three years.
Best Poster Award at MMVR 2011, MMVR 2012 and MMVR 2013
MMVR 2011 Poster Best poster prizes have been obtained for three years in a row at the NextMed /  Medicine Meets Virtual Reality (MMVR) conference in California:
  1. "Modification of Commercial Force Feedback Hardware for Needle Insertion Simulation" by Tim R Coles, G. Sofia, Nigel W. John, Derek A. Gould, and Darwin G. Caldwell (2011)
  2.  "A Method to Compute Respiration Parameters for Patient-based Simulators" by Villard PF, Vidal FP, Bello F, John NW. (2012)
  3. "3D Measuring tool for Estimating Femoroacetabular Impingement" By Chris J Hughes and Nigel W. John (2013)
Informa Healthcare Award 2010
The paper:

R.G. Thomas, N.W. John, J.M. Delieu, "Augmented Reality for Anatomical Education", Journal of Visual Communication in Medicine, Vol  33 No. 1, pp 6-15,  2010 (doi: 10.3109/17453050903557359)

has been awarded the Informa Healthcare Award 2010. The paper is a result of Rhys Thomas' PhD research and Rhys received a certificate and a cheque for £100. 
NIgel & Rhys
Eurographics 2011
The prestigeous Eurographics conference came to Wales for the first time in April 2011. Eurographics 2011 was organised by the VMG Group and held at Venue Cymru in Llandudno. Full details of the programme appear on the conference web site:

BBC Wales coverage of our Medical Simulation Work
BBC Wales Today and S4C's Newyddion both showed a feature on our medical simulator research work in December 2009. See the article and video here

Eurographics Fellow
Professor Nigel John has been elected as a Fellow of the Eurographics Association. The Eurographics Executive Committee elects researchers from all over the world, who have contributed to some large extent to the computer graphics society as a whole and/or to Eurographics Associtation, to become ”Fellows of the Eurographics Association”. Proposed new Fellows are nominated each year by the current fellows and announced during the annual general meeting. A timeordered list of all fellows can be found here.

Success in Eurographics 2009 Medical Prize Competition
Together with our project collaborators at Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Imperial and Hull universities, we have been awarded second place in the Eurographics 2009 Medical Prize for: ImaGINe-S: Imaging Guided Interventional Needle Simulation. The entry was awarded 2nd place for its innovative use of computer graphics in a complex system that is already far advanced towards clinical use.

See this YouTube video to learn more about the simulator:

Eurographics UK Prize
The School of Computer Science has introduced a new prize for the B.Sc student achieving the best results in final year computer graphics and related modules. The prize is named after the  UK Chapter of the Eurographics Association, the leading international organization purely devoted to the needs of professionals in computer graphics and all related visual disciplines. Bangor staff are actively involved in the UK Chapter.
L Systems rendered tree In 2008, the prize is awarded to Sion Huws. Sion has completed computer graphics projects on 3D Flood simulation (follow link to Student Work here), L-Systems, and Particle Systems on a mobile phone platform during his final year and achieved excellent all round results.
Needle Puncture Simulator Demonstrated at EuroHaptics 2008
Franck Vidal presented a talk on building an Ultrasound Guided Needle Puncture Simulator at a workshop on "Open Source Haptics & Applications" at EuroHaptics 2008, Madrid. The workshop was organised by SenseGraphics and focussed on the use of the H3D api. A hands on demonstration of the simulator was also provided. The simulator is the result of a project funded by the Department of Health to develop and validate a virtual reality simulator for training in interventional radiological visceral needle puncture procedures. The project is being carried out in collaboration with Liverpool, Bangor, Imperial, Leeds, and Hull Universities, and Medic Vision.

HTD Simulator

A demonstration of the Simulator also too place in Copenhagen at CIRSE 2008 - the Annual Meeting of the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe.
CNN Report on Virtual Surgery becoming a Reality
In a 2007 news article, CNN investigated how new virtual reality surgical procedures are improving the lives of patients. Prof. Nigel John from the School of Computer Science added commentary on future developments. The full story is available here.
TP.CG.07 Conference comes to Bangor
Over 60 delegates attended the Theory and Practice of Computer Graphics 2007 (TP.CG.07) conference, which was hosted by the School of Computer Science and held at Technium CAST, 13-15 June 2007. This was the 25th consecutive annual conference of the Eurographics UK Chapter. Dr Ik Soo Lim was Programme Chair with Prof David Duce (Oxford Brookes University); and Dr Thomas Varsamidis and Prof.Nigel John were the local organisers. The conference attracted paper submissions from across the world and seven papers involving researchers from the University of Wales, Bangor were accepted. Of particular note for the HPV-MG group was that the Ken Brodlie Prize for Best Paper was awarded to Llyr ap Cenydd for his paper and presentation "The Dynamic Animation of Ambulatory Arthropods". All the delegates were impressed by his work and the demos of virtual spiders! 


Pictures from the conference can be found on our Gallery web page. Details of the programme,  keynote speakers, and sponsors can be found on the conference web pages.
Talking Point Article in MedicalPhysicsWeb
Research from the HPV-MG group is the focus of the May 2007 Talking Point feature in medicalphysicsweb, an online site for the medical physics community. The article "A virtual opportunity for interventional radiology" has been written by Prof. Nigel John and Dr Derek Gould (Consultant Interventional Radiologist at the Royal Liverpool University Trust). It discusses the opportunity for using virtual environments for training interventional radiology and uses the BIGNePSi Simulator as an example. Read the article here.
New Medical Simulation Laboratory for HPV-MG Research
New equipment has been installed to create a medical simulation laboratory for our research on medical virtual environments and augmented reality. With University funding allocated from the HEFCW Science Research Investment Fund (SRIF), the following items have been purchased:
  • SenseGraphics 3D-LIW, a low cost 3D stereo projector based immersive workbench. Provides a 40" viewing area with haptic work space.
  • SenseGraphics 3D-IW desktop sized immersive workbench
  • SensAble Technologies Phantom Premium 6DOF giving force feedback in six degrees of freedom.
  • Intersense IS-1200 Inertial-Optical Motion Tracking System
  • Ascension miniBIRD desktop model 800 electromagnetic tracking (2 sensors).
In addition, we have also recently obtained a Mentice/Xitact VSP for tracking and haptic response to catheters and guidewires. See our project pages for more information on how we are using this equipment, and the Gallery pages for pictures.

Dr Jan Abas creates a sophisticated work of art
Honorary Research Fellow Dr Jan Abas has created a sophisticated work of art to mark the winning of the 2006 Satava Award by Professor Nigel John. Read more about this unique sculpture here.
Article in latest IEEE Distributed Systems Online
Distributed Graphics Pipelines on the Grid

jgViz uses standard Grid technologies and Chromium cluster graphics software to schedule the best available distributed graphics pipeline
Wellcome Trust People Award
Ik Soo Lim has been awarded funding for a project: Three-Dimensional Anatomy Colouring. Our objective is to engage school pupils in a learning-by-doing activity as an entertaining and instructive guide to 3D (3-Dimensional) human anatomy. This project aims to provide a paradigm shift in teaching anatomy to school pupils. To avoid the shortfalls in 2D anatomy colouring, this project will develop an activity for the pupils in which they will digitally extract anatomical structures from 3D medical images. Using innovative computer software we constructed, the pupil will "digitally paint" a few points of an anatomic structure and other points of the remaining structures in a volumetric image. The software uses these examples to classify the whole image into two different regions. After a few iterations of this semi-automatic scheme, the anatomic structure of interest will be extracted and viewed by utilising a stereoscopic display. Using the latest 3D printing technology, following each lesson we will construct physical models of the segmented anatomy for the pupils to touch and hold.
Project Funding Success
The EPSRC has agreed funding for a project to develop a Physics-based virtual environment for training in vascular interventional radiological procedures. This will be a collaborative project with Liverpool, Hull, Leeds and Imperial universities. The project will develop, integrate and validate a complete virtual environment for training in vascular interventinal radiology, encompassing needle puncture as well as guidewire and catheter insertion and manipulation.

A second project in this area has also been funded by the Department of Health under the Health Technology Devices Programme. The project will develop and validate a virtual reality simulator for training in interventional radiological visceral needle puncture procedures. The work will be in collaboration with Liverpool, Leeds, Imperial and Hull Universities, and Medic Vision Pty Ltd.

We are contributing to the Web3D Consortium's Medical Working Group to enable real-time medical visualization and communication using X3D. The latest developments were presented at the MedX3D Birds of a Feather meeting at SIGGRAPH 06 in Boston, USA.
Keynote Talk at the British Association of Clinical Anatomists 2006
Prof. Nigel John gave a Keynote Talk in July at BACA 2006: "Virtual Reality applied to Clinical Anatomy and Surgery". BACA has, through its two meetings each year, and its Journal, Clinical Anatomy, set out to achieve excellence in Clinical Anatomy for all Health Professionals and those engaged in Teaching or Research.
Scientriffic 2006
We demonstrated some of our work at Scientriffic 2006. Our stand had the theme Computer Graphics and Virtual Reality. Members of the public had the opportunity to try out virtual surgery training, experience augmented reality, interact with virtual spiders, and much more!

MMVR14 Satava Award (12th Annual) is presented to Prof. Nigel W. John
Satava AwardThe 12th annual Satava Award was presented at MMVR14 to Nigel John to acknowledge his many accomplishments in the field of computer graphics and medical visualization. Established in 1995 to acknowledge the contribution of Richard M. Satava MD FACS, it is presented to an individual or research group demonstrating unique vision and commitment to improving medicine through advanced technology.

Presentation at MMVR14 2006
Chris Hughes presented his work on "A flexible infrastructure for delivering Augmented Reality enabled Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation" at the 14th Medicine Meets Virtual Reality conference, January 24-27, Long Beach, California. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is the process in which electrical activity in the brain is influenced by a pulsed magnetic field. Common practice is to align an electromagnetic coil with points of interest identified within the brain, from an MRI scan of the subject. The coil can be tracked using optical sensors, enabling the targeting information to be calculated and displayed on a local workstation. In this paper we explore the hypothesis that using an Augmented Reality (AR) interface for TMS will improve the efficiency of carrying out the procedure. We also aim to provide a flexible infrastructure that if required, can seamlessly deploy processing power from a remote high performance computing resource. (See also the e-Viz project web site).
Bangor at BSIR 2005
Image Guided Needle Puncture SimulatorThe HPV-MG group participated at a Satellite Workshop at BSIR 2005 - "Meeting the education needs for Interventional Radiology: instructional and technology issues". The workshop was organised by the CRaIVE collaborators. Franck Vidal presented the latest version of our image guided needle puncture similator (see projects page for more details), and Nigel John talked about the assessment of medical training simulators.

Paper accepted for IEE Electronics Letters
Ik Soo Lim has had his paper on "Smoothing Irregularly Sampled Signals by Convolutional RBF Networks" publiched in IEE Electronics Letters. Go to our publications page for more details.
Eurographics 2005 Medical Prize Winner
Nigel John announced the winner of the EG2005 Medical Prize Competition during the Eurographics conference in Dublin, September 2005. Follow this link for more information.
Prof. Nigel John gave a keynote talk at CyberWorlds 2005
Prof. Nigel John presented a key-note paper on "Cybermedicine - What is possible, and is it useful?" at the 2005 International Conference on CYBERWORLDS, Singapore, Nov 23-25, 2005. Abstract: The medical domain provides excellent opportunities for the application of computer graphics, visualization, and virtual environments, with the potential to help improve healthcare and bring benefits to patients. Possible applications include anatomical educational tools; diagnostic aids; virtual endoscopy; planning aids; guidance aids; skills training; and computer augmented reality. This talk will provide a comprehensive overview of the state-of-the-art in this exciting field, including examples from research projects and commercially available products. The term Cybermedicine will be introduced to categorise those medical applications that can be delivered via the World Wide Web, preferably in the context of a collaborative virtual environment. The issues for effective cybermedicine will be discussed, and we will look ahead to future developments.
Paper from e-Viz project accepted for AHM2005
Mark Riding, Jason Wood, Ken Brodlie, John Brooke, Min Chen, David Chisnall, Chris Hughes, Nigel W. John, Mark W. Jones, Nicolas Roard, "e-Viz: Towards an Integrated Framework for High Performance Visualization", UK e-Science Programme All Hands Meeting, 19 - 22nd September 2005 Nottingham. Click here to go to the e-Viz Web Site.
Two papers were presented at TPCG 05
  • T. Clifton, "Simulating the Cumulative Effects of Multiple Impacts using ’Fracture Maps’"
  • L. ap Cenydd and W. Teahan, "Arachnid Simulation : Scaling Arbitrary Surfaces".
University of Kent, June 2005. Organised by the Eurographics UK Chapter.
Paper presented at CARS 2005
F.P. Vidal, N. Chalmers, D.A. Gould, A. Healey, N.W.John, “Developing a Needle Guidance Virtual Environment with Patient Specific Data and Force Feedback”, Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery (CARS), Elsevier, Berlin June 22-25, 2005
Invited Paper published in British Journal Radiology
N.W. John, R.F. McCloy, “Navigating and visualizing three-dimensional data sets”, Br J Radiol. 2004;77 Spec No 2:S108-13. BJR
ACM SIGGRAPH Web3D 2005 Symposium @ Bangor
The ACM SIGGRAPH Web3D 2005 Symposium was organised and hosted here, March/April, 2005 Web3D poster
Poster presented at Supercomputing 2004
Ade Fewings and Nigel John, Distributed Graphics Pipelines on the Grid
Prize Winner at TPCG 04!
Terence Clifton wins prize in "Practice of Computer Graphics" category for his paper: “Real-Time Simulation of Small-Scale Impact Debris using Hierarchical Particle Systems”, Theory and Practice of Computer Graphics, University of Bournemouth, June 2004
Latest News
Chris Hughes makes it a hat trick of Best Poster prizes at MMVR