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Insight Toolkit

Collage of images showing examples of how the Insight Toolkit is used in surgical planning, biomedical image analysis, diagnosis, and treatment.
Project information
Researchers: 

The Insight Toolkit (ITK) project is developing a public, open-source library of leading-edge algorithms for the segmentation (image partitioning) and registration (image alignment) of high-dimensional biomedical image data.

ITK R&D: Fundamental improvements in the ITK software library are being made, in light of the current state of ITK and technological advances such as multi-core processors in laptop systems, larger memories, ubiquitous graphics processing units (GPUs), and consumer-grade parallel computing systems for array processing.

ITK applications R&D: Researchers are incorporating ITK code into software for medical and other applications:

  • Deconvolution methods for astronomy and astrophysics
  • Digital histology
  • Image registration for neurosurgery
  • Microscopy
  • Tumor micro-environments
  • Tumor volume measurement for lung cancer treatment
  • Video processing for security applications as well as healthcare
  • Zebrafish embryology

ITK adopters:

  • The National Alliance of Medical Image Computing (NA-MIC), an NIH Roadmap National Center for Biomedical Computing (NCBC) led by Harvard University, has adopted ITK and its software engineering practices as part of its engineering infrastructure.
  • ITK is the software foundation for the Image Guided Surgery Toolkit (IGSTK), an R&D program sponsored by the NIH National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) and executed by Georgetown University’s Imaging Science and Information Systems (ISIS) Center.
  • The Image-Guided Surgery Toolkit (IGSTK) is pioneering an open application programming interface (API) for integrating robotics, image-guidance, image analysis, and surgical intervention.
  • International software packages that incorporate ITK include:
    •  Osirix, an open-source diagnostic radiological image viewing system developed through a research partnership between UCLA and the University of Geneva, Switzerland
    • The Orfeo Toolbox (OTB) from the Centre Nationale D’Etudes Spatiales, the French National Space Administration

ITK influences: ITK influences end-user applications through supplementing research platforms including:

  • Analyze – computational techniques for the display and analysis of multidimensional image data – from the Mayo Clinic
  • SCIRun, a problem solving environment for modeling, simulation, and visualization of scientific problems, from the University of Utah's Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute
  • The development of a new release of VolView, free software for medical volume image viewing and analysis

ITK project coordination: NLM and the ITK Project coordinate efforts of groups including:

  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • CoSmo Software
  • General Electric Global Research
  • Georgetown University
  • Harvard University
  • Kitware, Inc.
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Ohio State University
  • Old Dominion University
  • University of Iowa
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Utah Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute

About ITK and its software:

  • Can be run on Apple, Linux, and Windows
  • Comprises more than 845,000 lines of openly available source code
  • Subscribers to the ITK list-serve include more than 1,500 people from more than 40 countries, and representing a broad scientific community
  • Support, development, and maintenance provided through a consortium of university and commercial organizations and NLM/LHNCBC/OHPCC intramural research staff

For more information about ITK: Please visit itk.org for more information about ITK, including a technical summary, its history, current releases, training, and ITK projects.

Funding: FY 2010 and FY 2011 ITK efforts were funded through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (commonly known as the Stimulus).

Publications/Tools: 
Ackerman MJ, Yoo T. The Visible Human Data Sets (VHD) and Insight Toolkit (ITk): experiments in open source software. AMIA Annu Symp Proc [American Medical Informatics Association Annual Symposium Proceedings]; 2003 Nov 8-12; Washington DC. p. 773.
Yoo T, Ackerman MJ, Lorensen W, Schroeder W, Chalana V, Aylward S, Metaxas D, Whitaker R. Engineering and Algorithm Design for an Image Processing API: A Technical Report on ITK - The Insight Toolkit. In: Westwood JD, Hoffman HM, Robb RA, Stredney D, editors. Stud Health Technol Inform [Studies in Health Technology and Informatics] -- Proceedings of the 10th annual Medicine Meets Virtual Reality conference – Digital Upgrades: Applying Moore’s Law to Health; 2002 Jan 23-26; Newport Beach, California;85:586-92. Amsterdam: IOS Press.
Yoo TS, Ackerman MJ, Vannier M. Toward a Common Validation Methodology for Segmentation and Registration Algorithms. In: Delp SL, DiGioia AM, Jaramaz B, editors. Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention (MICCAI); 2000 Oct 11-14; Pittsburgh. Lecture Notes in Computer Science 1935. Berlin: Springer-Verlag; 2000. p. 422-31.
Yoo TS, Ackerman MJ. A New Research Program in Medical Image Processing. In: Westwood JD, Hoffman HM, Mogel GT, Robb RA, Stredney D, editors. Stud Health Technol Inform [Studies in Health Technology and Informatics] -- Proceedings of Medicine Meets Virtual Reality 2000;70:385-91. Amsterdam: IOS Press.
Lowekamp B, Yoo TS. Software: Insight Toolkit (ITK): Software for Image Segmentation and Registration.

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