1 March 2011 SimITK: rapid ITK prototyping using the Simulink visual programming environment
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Abstract
The Insight Segmentation and Registration Toolkit (ITK) is a long-established, software package used for image analysis, visualization, and image-guided surgery applications. This package is a collection of C++ libraries, that can pose usability problems for users without C++ programming experience. To bridge the gap between the programming complexities and the required learning curve of ITK, we present a higher-level visual programming environment that represents ITK methods and classes by wrapping them into "blocks" within MATLAB's visual programming environment, Simulink. These blocks can be connected to form workflows: visual schematics that closely represent the structure of a C++ program. Due to the heavily C++ templated nature of ITK, direct interaction between Simulink and ITK requires an intermediary to convert their respective datatypes and allow intercommunication. We have developed a "Virtual Block" that serves as an intermediate wrapper around the ITK class and is responsible for resolving the templated datatypes used by ITK to native types used by Simulink. Presently, the wrapping procedure for SimITK is semi-automatic in that it requires XML descriptions of the ITK classes as a starting point, as this data is used to create all other necessary integration files. The generation of all source code and object code from the XML is done automatically by a CMake build script that yields Simulink blocks as the final result. An example 3D segmentation workflow using cranial-CT data as well as a 3D MR-to-CT registration workflow are presented as a proof-of-concept.
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A. W. L. Dickinson, P. Mousavi, D. G. Gobbi, P. Abolmaesumi, "SimITK: rapid ITK prototyping using the Simulink visual programming environment", Proc. SPIE 7964, Medical Imaging 2011: Visualization, Image-Guided Procedures, and Modeling, 796438 (1 March 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.878254; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.878254
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