What is 4D Imaging and how does it work?

When three dimensional imaging software first entered the scene in the 1970s, it seemed like the future had finally arrived. Today, there are hundreds of 3-D software solutions on the market in a whole range of industries, including cartography, gaming, TV and film to name but a few.

However, it is the applications of 3-D imaging technology in the life sciences and medical fields that could potentially have the most profound impact. And here, 3-D is already old news.

Bitplane has been a pioneer in the development of what is commonly called 4-D imaging. This adds the 4th dimension of time to the three spatial dimensions, showing how the parameters or relative positioning of the physical dimensions alter over time. Take a look at their website here.

Practical applications of 4-D imaging

On one hand, 4D imaging is actually something most of us have experienced first hand. The images that appear on the screen if you go for an ultrasound or CT scan are perfect examples of 4D imaging in action. However, 4D also has applications that have nothing to do with medicine or healthcare.

The increasing complexity of 21st century construction projects brings a pressing need for ever more detailed analytical support, to meet planning and project management obligations.


A 4-D site model allows scheduling data to be added to the conventional three-dimensional graphical representation of a building or infrastructure project, providing planners and stakeholders with a picture of the construction process at any given date or stage in its progress.

Site trials of 4-D software in a variety of different types of project soon opened the door to yet more applications in other industries. For example, the basic 4-D model can be used in studies on space utilisation, site safety, resource management, process flow and numerous other areas.

Imaris software

Imaris is the best-known 4-D digital imaging software on the market, and is the product that put Bitplane on the map.

The product line provides those working in scientific research, particularly in the fields of medicine and life sciences, with versatile and powerful 4D imaging analysis capability, while at the same time being exceptionally user-friendly and intuitive to use.

There are eight different modules that can be combined as necessary to meet specific needs.

The core software module provides the necessary functionality for basic visualization, segmentation and interpretation of datasets from 3D and 4D microscopy, and is particularly critical in the field of cellular research.

This all sounds extremely cutting edge, and you might wonder what, if any, practical applications exist for those of us who happen not to be medical researchers. The answer is plenty.

Real-time 4D analysis

Typically, a system under investigation is something that is not static, but is constantly evolving over time. This is true of weather systems, industrial practices, construction projects and biological processes in the human body.

Till now, any representation has provided a snapshot at a specific moment in time. Adding the “real time” element of 4-D quite literally brings a new dimension to the analysis and the possibility of more accurate information and better insights.

  1. Wow, 4D technology is so amazing. Hope to see more application in our daily life.

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