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See No Weevil

New open-source software called Biomedisa that simplifies analysis of large 3D images

28 December 2020

See No Weevil

Biomedical scientists call on experience and knowledge to interpret medical scans. But image analysis is time consuming, so here computer software aims to define or 'segment' important features automatically. The new online package, called Biomedisa, sets to work on a 3D microscope image of a Trigonopterus weevil (original photo, centre), made up of a thousand 2D image 'slices', with the hope of walking through the images tracing boundaries. Some slices are pre-segmented by scientists, and act as milestones for the software to fill in the gaps. The question is: how much human help is enough? On these weevils, darker-coloured areas show where the software is successful – happening more frequently when using higher numbers of pre-segmented slices (left column), compared to fewer (right). Spotting more subtle boundaries (such as the green areas) requires a balance between human and computer analysis, which Biomedisa’s open source community will continue to improve, then apply to human tissues.

Written by John Ankers

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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