Butterflies in Virtual Reality: developing workflows for efficient morphological segmentation and analysis of X-ray microtomography Datasets

InfraVis User

Sridhar Halali

InfraVis Application Experts

Jens Nirme, Joakim Eriksson, Mattias Wallergård

InfraVis Node Coordinator

Anders Sjöström, Emanuel Larsson

Other Contributors

Tools & Skills

Virtual Reality, Slicer3D


Virtual Reality, Slicer3D


Initially an InfraVis pilot project, the VR lab at LTH has worked with Sridhar Halali, a researcher at the LU Dept. of Biology. As part of his work to understand how butterflies have evolved in response to environmental changes, Dr Halali has collected a dataset of microCT scans of butterflies. The specific trait of interest is in this case the shape of the head. It can, however, be a greatly time-consuming task to isolate body segments in a large 3-dimensional dataset using the 2D interface of the standard software (3D Slicer). This is where the VR Lab comes in, analyzing the problem, building on existing plugins for visualization and interaction in VR, and parallel processing to implement a solution to facilitate the task.


  • A spherical tool with variable radius to erase geometry, controlled by a hand-held controller in VR.
  • Multi-threading and optimizations to minimize latency and prevent the program from freezing when handling high-resolution data.
Image: 3D image of a butterfly


The project aims at cleaning 3D imaging data of butterflies and being able to e.g. isolate the head.

Image: Solution of using spheres to isolate the head with 3DSlicer.