Liza Kolev Spring '23

ParaView Questions Results and Discussion of Activity

For the graphs above, 1 and 5 represented "Not Effective" and "Very Effective" respectively. In addition, it's important to note that one or two users were not able to collaborate, so the data above may not be entirely correct.

In the in-class activity, due to there only being one server for everyone to join, the server did eventually crash. However, some users as well as myself when testing the software were able to still experience ParaView collaboration within pairs.

It was interesting to see that the range for collaboration effectiveness as well as the overall experience with ParaView was so wide, given that many users said how they were not able to see their partner's changes to the brain volume or they were not able to change the brain volume themselves. However, they were able to move around and see their partners as skeletons move around the map. In addition, it appears users were considering still the desktop collaboration capabilities in terms of them changing how the volume looked on the desktop to change the VR.

One positive that was brought up about ParaView was the ability to view the data in different perspectives, e.g. as an outline, volume, etc. In addition, personally, I found it great that there was an actual avatar to represent your partner along with a nametag if they gave themselves a name. Most scientific data visualizations usually have just hands and a headset.

Generally, the VR experience for users was poor due to the unfinished functionality and system bugs of ParaView. Many brought up how in order to slice the data, they had to do it on the desktop as the slice capabilities in VR actually sliced the UI and not the brain volume itself. In addition, there was lag in terms of the menu and moving the model around (which was already difficult enough for some users), and it was not possible for many (including myself) to screenshot within OpenVR. A final negative that was brought up was how many little details were needed in order to setup ParaView, which just takes time and is a bit disheartening when Paraview VR still doesn't work the best.

It's important to note that this activity was done with ParaView 5.10, and ParaView is an open-source software. This means that the group that works with ParaView works on bugs and issues only when it's brought up in forums. For example, OpenVR had been discontinued until someone asked about OpenVR capabilities on a popular forum discussion. OpenVR returned as a plugin a year later, announced on the same forum discussion.

MEDICALHOLODECK Questions Results and Discussion of Activity

For the graphs above, 1 and 5 represented "Not Effective" and "Very Effective" respectively. In addition, it's important to note that one or two users were not able to collaborate, so the data above may not be entirely correct.

MEDICALHOLODECK is a software that can either be downloaded onto a laptop or can be downloaded via Steam. Interestingly, the app is slightly different depending on how you download it, and for this activity, everyone simply downloaded it straight onto their laptops.

The main negative that was brought up about the app was that users were stuck to one spot and couldn't move around. Thus, when collaborating, pairs simply had the exact same view of the data. However, they were at least able to see each other's changes in the app. In addition, setup seemed to take less time, and the app was working smoothly. There was one issue with the UI that I had noticed when testing the software and had warned everyone about: when trying to upload custom models, it doesn't actually select the file you want, so you need to scroll through the entirety of your files to find the custom model.

Users can have a free trial for a week before they have to pick an annual subscription to use the different aspects of MEDICALHOLODECK. So, I had wanted to see what users would pay for an annual subscription based on their use in the activity. There was no unaminous answer, but the winner is $69 per year. However, users were generally not fans of having to pay money every year. In addition, this app is very much for those in the medical industry, so some did bring up the good point that the price of the license should be cheaper than the price of looking at this data in-person. I do not know what the price of looking at this data in-person would be nor the price of getting the appropriate trainig to understand what the data is showing. Some did say that they would either not pay for it at all or would look for another software to view volumetric data before paying for MEDICALHOLODECK as it seems to be still unstable in loading custom data or getting more open-source options. 

One comment that stood out was about someone's experience talking to doctors. Apparently, most features of medical softwares are not advanced enough for practical purposes, and doctor have gotten used to looking at scans on 2D screens and have been trained to do so. This is understandable as time and money are a resource that cannot be wasted, especially in the medical industry where people's lives are on the line. While VR can be used experimentally and maybe slowly brought into medical education, it will probably take a while before it's used practically.

ParaView vs MEDICALHOLODECK Results and Discussion

For future medical data visualization and collaboration, the majority chose MEDCALHOLODECK, taking into account factors such as price, collaboration features, setup, MEDICALHOLODECK's main preparedness for the medical industr, and the quality of interaction with the data. The major factor that almost all users took into account was the setup.  However, one user did state that they probably wouldn't use either of these for VR use, but would pick ParaView for outside of VR. This understandable given that MEDICALHOLODECK is only used for VR.

It's important to remember when looking at the results that ParaView is an open-source software, while MEDICALHOLODECK would only be free for a week until there would have to have a license subscription. So, it's not that surprising ParaView does not have the best functionality or UI. However, ParaView is also not made just for the medical industry, meaning you can view more types of data  for free on your desktop or in VR. MEDICALHOLODECK is great for VR collaboration and visualization in terms of medical data, but having to pay for a license in addition to any medical training one had to get in order to even understand the data can be taxing. So, while ParaView functionality can be improved and will probably stay open-source, if MEDICALHOLODECK were to improve any of it's collaboration features or functionalities, it would probably increase the price slightly. The use of the two softwares truly depends on one's use for the apps as well as how willing they are to try to fix the system bugs themselves.